Gerald (Jerry) Lohman Bill Reyer COR 300 Exploration of the Liberal Arts 27 April 2011 The Men in Her Life “The Awakening” describes the social standing of New Orleans Creole women of the Victorian era. The women do not define themselves. They are defined by the men. Their lives are devoted to their fathers, their husbands and finally their children. They are mother-women who have no lives of their own and, in most cases; they are fine with their position in society. Edna Pontellier is an exception. I intended to reflect on the influence male figures have on this protagonist and how she influences them. Léonce Pontellier is Edna’s husband. He is a New Orleans Creole with a successful business career. Not unlike successful businessmen today, Léonce works hard at his career and is often away from home. As a prominent New Orleans businessman, he is concerned with his social standing in the community and expects Edna to conform to the expectations of society. Léonce loves his family, but his career and his place in New Orleans society consume him. He does not understand that Edna does not fit the mold of the Victorian Creole mother-woman. He views Edna as a possession and Edna rebels. Léonce is out of his comfort zone with Edna’s behavior and exclaims, “Her whole attitude—toward me and everybody and everything---has changed. You know I have a quick temper, but I don’t want to quarrel or be rude to a woman, especially my wife; yet I’m driven to it, and feel like ten thousand devils after
I’ve made a fool of myself. She’s making it devilishly uncomfortable for me” (Chopin, 109). Robert Lebrun is a young man who is in the habit of becoming devoted to a different woman on Grand Isle every summer. He is the elder son of Madame Lebrun who owns the resort on Grand Isle. Robert’s attention to the vacationing ladies has never been taken seriously. However, his attraction to Edna Pontellier takes on a more serious tone. Over the summer, Robert’s...