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Thesis of the awakening by kate chopin

Edna step by step relieves herself from the obligations of her surrounding and undergoes a development that leads to new strength and independence.

Kate Chopin: The Awakening - Edna´s suicide: The Awakening to inner freedom

However, Edna never succeeds in reaching full individuality and goes the only possible way: Edna is surrounded by a society she cannot identify with and does not want to be part of. The role of the woman in the 19th century was clearly limited to being a mother and wife. Edna does not feel satisfied with this life, as she desires to make her own rules and decisions.

  1. Houses are where one resides and thus are reflections on the soul of the inhabitant. Edna Pontellier, for instance is probably inspired by Edma Pontillon, a woman who gave up her art, to become one of her husbands possessions.
  2. She had fine hands because she did not work physically but ran her household by giving orders to the servants.
  3. Until then she did not have the opportunity to write, giving birth to a child almost every other year. Birds represent freedom and the ability to fly but are also symbols for something that is strong yet delicate.

During her awakening, she brakes free from the social conventions and tries to lead an independent life. Yet although Edna begins to be independent, the only way she can complete her intention is to commit suicide.

"The Awakening" by Kate Chopin - Edna Pontellier, a woman fated to die

However, in the summer vacation at Grand Isle Edna begins to understand that she does not want to be oppressed any longer. Slowly, she frees herself from all the duties and refuses the world she has been living in.

She lets go of everything around her: She brakes free from financial as well as domestic domination, and even leaves her children to seek for her desires. In the 19th century the supremacy of a woman was motherhood, and they were judged by their qualities as mothers and wives.

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Edna, however, does not want to be possessed by her husband and children, and she refuses to self-sacrifice herself for them. She feels that not only the duties of caring for her children, but also motherhood itself limit her independence to become an individual.

  1. The narrator in the novel clearly sympathizes with the character of Edna Pontellier. Men too have a number of expectations and it is important to look at Leonce and other men in the novel and how they either uphold or rebel against the status quo in terms of gendered expectations.
  2. Slowly, she frees herself from all the duties and refuses the world she has been living in.
  3. The sea is a bit more obvious as a symbol.
  4. New York, Dover, 1993, pg. Edna is being suffocated by male-dominated society; the church being a male-dominated institution, promoting conventions, morals, and conservatism.
  5. Bird symbolism is more complex.

As Edna sees no future in combining motherhood and selfhood, the only possibility for her is to commit suicide, which offers her the only way of eluding her children. This hints at the impossibility to be mother as well as individual.

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In committing suicide Edna gives up everything and leaves nothing that could get destroyed. Philip Smith, 1899 New York: All references are to this edition. Twayne Publishers, 1993 101.