Historical Perspective of "The Awakening" by Kate Choping Essay

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A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF “THE AWAKENING” BY KATE CHOPIN JENNIFER JENKINS SOUTH UNIVERSITY ON-LINE A HISTORCIAL PERSPECTIVE OF “THE AWAKEINING” BY KATE CHOPIN “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin was revered to be one of the most debated novels of its time. Using a psychoanalytical perspective, reading “The Awakening” one can see the reasoning behind those debates, the main symbol and character behind the novel, Edna Pontellier. Reading “The Awakening” in a Feminist Perspective, on gender and the inequality of the two, the reader can grasp the historical significance of Chopin’s overall theme. Why are women are pressured into becoming a wife and mother in-order to be a complete and accepted member of a Victorian Society? Looking deeper into the novel with an historical perspective, it becomes clear that Chopin uses the identity crisis Edna Pontellier was having as a wife, mother, and woman to symbolize the expressed views of millions of women during the Women’s Right Movement of the 1800’s. In the late 1800’s, women of a Victorian Society was expected to marry according to their father’s religious beliefs. Women of this era are believed “not in capacity to judge for themselves”. The Victorian Society felt it was a woman’s place to [“abide by the decisions of their fathers…as confidently as by that of the church”] (Wollstonecraft, 1975, p.87). In “The Awakening”, Chopin challenges society’s expectations of marriage when Edna marries Leonce Pontellier in “violent opposition of her father” (Chopin, 1899, p.35), for Leonce was a catholic and Edna’s father was Presbyterian. Historically during the era of the Victorian Society “it is the wife’s responsibility to provide her husband a happy home… the single spot of rest which a man has upon this earth for the cultivation of his noblest sensibilities. Whatever the cares of the day, greet your husband with a smile when

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