Individualism In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

Submitted By veronikai
Words: 599
Pages: 3

English 63
Prof Warsh
Essay #2 Individualism
Women in history were challenged with expressing themselves in what was considered to be a man’s world that generally refused to allow worth to women's views. Cultural and political events during these centuries increased attention to women's issues such as education and by the end of the eighteenth century; women were increasingly able to speak out against prejudice. The role of women is one of the major themes of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. The three main female characters of the story help to show the views of women to society, with Madame Ratignolle showing the example of the perfect woman, Mademoiselle Reisz representing the opposite of a proper woman of the time, and Edna representing the changing views of women and their roles. This is a prime example of how the role of women has changed over the course of the century and centuries before. The novel, the awakening was based in the late 1800’s which was during a era when women were beginning to find themselves. During those centuries not much drastic change affected women’s rights or the view of a woman in power. The "jobs" that are traditionally assigned to women, such as tending a home, caring for a husband, and bearing children, and the ways in which these jobs are used to keep women in a powerless position. The eighteenth century brought the beginning of increasing power of the middle class and consumerism. Therefore, the role of women began to evolve because economic changes brought by the new middle class gave women the opportunity to be involved in commerce. The world in which Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman lived in was rather different compared to the world that Kate Chopin lived in. Kate Chopin was a 20th century writer while the others were 19th century writers and lived during a period of time where society wasn’t open to the idea of changing the traditional representation of a woman. Emerson proves in his essay self reliance that society during the time wasn’t ready for change and how he disagreed with the views of the public. He asserted that each individual needed to avoid conformity and false consistency. Individuality was a looked down upon during the 19th century and various works by Emerson were censured from the public until