Length: 5-7 pages, plus a Works Cited page, one inch margins, Times New Roman 12 point font.
Sources/Quotations: A minimum of three secondary sources. Seven direct quotations (3 from the primary source and 4 from the secondary sources)
In the 1980s, women were searching for their self identification and freedom outside of domestic restrictions of society. Edna, the main character of The Awakening, represents a group of women who wants to have their own space and their bodies. She is going through a period of self searching and discovery.
- The Background of the novel
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin was written in the 1890â€™s when womenâ€™s rights and freedoms were still curtailed.
- Starting from the Seneca Falls Convention, women began to have a voice and state out their desires regarding their rights (Howard, 1969).
- The ideology of Patriarchy
- â€œThe mother-women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle. It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended, protecting wings when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood. They were women who idealized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels.â€ (Chopin 9)
- . “The overriding romantic theme in the novel is Edna’s search for individuality and freedom: [â€¦]. This search amounts to her own romantic quest for a holy grail, a grail of self-definition. [â€¦] The aspect of naturalism most evident in The Awakening is the portrayal of Edna as hostage to her biology. She is female, has children, and is a wife in a society that dictates behavioral norms based on those conditions. [â€¦] Another naturalistic element in the novel is the portrayal of Edna as a victim of fate, chance, of an uncaring world, pulled into a consuming, but indifferent sea. In the end, despite her developments into selfhood, the only escape from her biological destiny as a woman in society, possessed, sexual, and ruled, is death.” (Wyatt, 1995)
- The Role of Women
- Women do not have freedom of expression, because they are just meant to be mothers and wives, to please their husbands.
- â€œHere all females are pictured as physically and mentally inferior to the male; but on the other hand, they are portrayed as the pious and virtuous repositories of the nation’s morality. The American female, according to this view, is personified as the paragon of American innocence, who must be defended, protected, and sheltered from the hard realities and evils of life at all costs. The American woman reigned if she did not rule.â€ (Howard 1969)
- â€œâ€¦they were a part of her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her body and soulâ€ (Chopin 125).
- Women mostly stayed at home and their main duties were to cater for the kids. They did not have day jobs or anything else to do out of the house except stay with the kids.
- â€œIt would have been a difficult matter for Mr. Pontellier to define his own satisfaction [â€¦] wherein his wife failed her duties toward their children. [â€¦] he never voiced the feeling without subsequent regret and ample atonement.â€ (Chopin 9)
- â€œIt is true that the woman in the book who wanted her own way comes to an untimely end in the effort to get what she wants, or rather, in the effort to gratify every whim that moves her capricious soul, but there are sentences here and there throughout the book that indicate the author’s desire to hint her belief that her heroine had the right of the matter and that if the woman had only been able to make other people ‘understand’ things as she did she would not have had to drown herself in the blue waters of the Mexican Gulf.â€ (Culley 152)
Howard B. Furer. â€œThe American City: A Catalyst for the Women’s Rights Movement.â€ The Wisconsin Magazine of History, vol. 52, no. 4, 1969, pp. 285â€“305., www.jstor.org/stable/4634459.
Chopin, Kate, and Margaret Culley. The Awakening: An Authoritative Text, Biography, Contexts, Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994. Print.
Wyatt, Neal. “Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, and Local Color The Literary Context of The Awakening.” Google Sites. N.p., 1995. Web. 21 Mar. 2017. http://lfkkb.tripod.com/eng24/womensstudiessp03/th…
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Second ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martinâ€™s, 2000. Print.