Feminism in Kate Chopin's 'the Awakening'

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2. The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a novel about a woman who transforms from being a wife, mother-woman to an independent woman of her own. Kate Chopin is an American novelist and The Awakening was published in 1899. This was the Victorian era. During this time, women were not considered as independent beings with real feelings and desires. The society has had women placed in a frame and expected that they stayed inside of it. It was in a society like this that Kate, being a woman published her novel of a woman who dares to go against the conventions of the society. Kate Chopin exhibits herself as a feminist by writing this novel of a feminist during this era. The novel is a challenge to the society and its assumptions of her time. She questions the rights of a woman to be free and fulfill her desires as another human being. Kate uses the main character of Edna Pontieller, and changes she goes through to emphasize the plight of a woman who wants to be independent. The other characters she uses depict the attitude towards gender prevailed in the society such as Leonce Pontieller, Madame Ratignolle and Madame Reisz. Edna Pontieller is regarded as a personal property of Leonce, her husband. This means a woman is considered as an object, not as a human. Loence himself shows how he thinks of his wife by “ …looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage.” It is not just Mr. Pontieller’s attitude that is depicted here; it’s the attitude of that society. The society, in which the novel is set upon, has certain expectations of a woman. A woman should be an obedient wife and a devoted mother. The norms of the society confine a woman to be dependant of her husband without having any independence or self fulfillment. These confines and expectations are forced on Edna simply because of her gender. Leonce on the
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