Feminist Criticism Essay

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Feminist Criticism on “The Awakening” Kate Chopin wrote “The Awakening”, to show people of the nineteenth century society and the future generations, how hard women struggled to overcome their conflicting emotions and the oppression of society’s tradition to become more than just personal property for men to control. Feminist criticism portrays women in literature as the most important forms of ‘socialization’. All throughout “The Awakening”, Kate Chopin shows examples of how women should and should not act in society, in their homes, and with their husbands. In Edna Pontellier’s adopted society, women are viewed more valuable when they conform into the mother-woman role. The mother-woman role is another form of men control, because it dictates how women should idolize their children, worship their husbands, and honor their isolated but inferior positions. Kate Chopin bravely exposed an attitude of feminism to an unprepared society in her novel The Awakening. Her brilliant work of fiction was not recognized at the time because feminism had not yet become popular. Chopin defied societal assumptions of her time period and wrote the novel, The Awakening, using attitudes of characters in regard to gender, changed in the main character, imagery and Edna’s suicide to illustrate her feminist position. Society during Chopin’s time period believed women to be a weak, dependent gender whose position lay nothing above mothering and housework. In The Awakening, Chopin relays the basic attitudes of society toward women mainly through her characters Leonce, Edna, Madame Ratignolle, and Madame Reisz. She uses Leonce and Madame Ratignolle to portray examples of what was considered acceptable in society. However, Chopin includes the contrasting characters of Edna and Madame Reisz in an effort to express urges and desires disguised by the female gender. The novel
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