Running head: FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE OF: CHOPIN'S "THE AWAKENING" 1
FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE OF: Chopin's "The Awakening"
Mary W. Jones
South University Online
Citing One Chopin's Story: Chopin's "The Awakening"
"The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace"
(Chopin, 1899, ch 39, para 4)
FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE OF: CHOPIN'S "THE AWAKENING" 2
The Awakening was published in 1889, and the plot focuses on several months in the life
of Edna Pontellier a 28 year old mother of two. Chopin in "The Awakening" introduces us to a
few key characters who are influential in Edna's evolution from a traditional mother and wife to a
woman who decisively frees herself from a mortal life of "bondage" (marriage and motherhood).
As the story unwines, The Awakening, Edna lives in a world with rigid gender, race, and
class separations, but as the hero of the story is considered exceptional, in part, because she
challenges societal expectations for women and also transgresses strict social divisions based
on class status.
The story itself involves Edna Pontellier who is caught in a loveless marriage, when by
happenstance she meets Robert Labrun, a young man who is drawn to Edna. Her life is slowly
dismantled as she recognize that her marriage and her role as a mother are not only unfulfilling
but become the obstacles in her pursuit to "freedom". For instance, one might choose to explore
how traditional gender roles are portrayed in the relationship between Edna and Leonce Pontellier.
What happens when Edna begins to challenge ideas about her role as a wife and mother? For
example, the text focuses on what Edna is not"....Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-women" at
all in this story. This description is the key as...