Feminine In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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Kate Chopin’s The Awakening took place in the late part of the 1800's during the reign of Queen Victoria. Grand Isle was a where Edna Pontellier lived in a community of Creoles. The society thrived for "mother-women," who "idolized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it to a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals" (9). She was not Creole and acted different than the rest. Creole’s like Adele Ratignolle “the fair lady of [everyone’s] dreams” (9), who treated her husband with respect and cared for her children unconditionally. Although Adele and Edna were friends there were vast differences in their goals. She wanted to be more of an entity then property of her husband and children. Edna “awakens” in at least two…show more content…
Mademoiselle’s actions was Edna’s “awakening”. Mademoiselle concentrated on her art of being a pianist. This gave her the freedom to do what she wanted with no other responsibilities. She becomes a part of Edna’s life when Mademoiselle plays a piece on the piano. We can see that Edna is moved by Mademoiselle on page 26 when “[she] struck upon the piano [and] sent a keen tremor down” Edna’s spine. There was a connection that Edna felt, when Mademoiselle was done it was like nothing else mattered but Edna. She ignored everyone’s enthusiasm for her work and went straight up to Edna where she stated “you are the only one worth playing for. Those other? Bah!” (26). Mademoiselle had the independence that Edna wants; when she plays she is free from all troubles and despair. Whereas, Edna can paint but still has her children and husband Leonce when she is finished to take care of. The two women share a common interest freedom. Mademoiselle sees this potential in Edna but knows that Edna must first grow into an independent woman and seek the freedom on her own. Edna’s passion for art is shattered because of her duties as a mother and wife. Leonce doesn’t even know her infatuation with art and even if he did, she is still expected to care for the children and him. Edna “awakens” by discovering her passion and her lack of commitment. She wants the freedom to paint and Mademoiselle gives her that hope to possibly one day feel free by doing what she loves. These two women become close to one another when they share this same interest. Through their encounters it becomes apparent to Mademoiselle that Edna has sexual desires for young man named Robert Lebrun. She isn’t blind, she can see the connection the two have with each other and expresses this to
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