macbeth research paper

Submitted By Sarah-Hellmann
Words: 1440
Pages: 6

Sarah Hellmann
Ms. Cataneo
Honors English III
4 December 2014 In the novel The Awakening by Kate Chopin the main character, Edna Pontellier, undergoes several awakenings that reveal her destiny to become an independent individual or die trying. Edna is an audacious and extraordinary woman whose need to forget her old life drives her to begin a new one where she is truly free. This nineteenth century novel was written when both realism and romanticism literary traditions were popular. Edna represents Chopin’s abandonment of realism and romanticism by rejecting elements of both; she is not the depiction of the common man found in realism literature, and she is not interested in the past as many characters are in romanticism literature. Chopin uses Edna to symbolize the novel’s uniquely independent and individualistic literary movement and neglect of the two popular during Chopin’s time. Chopin’s purpose when creating Edna is to prove that a woman who liberates herself from the patriarchal culture are ostracized and considered delusional. Edna eventually becomes that woman but initially she is characterized as just physically different from other women, not matronly or not beautiful, but handsome. As Edna’s awakenings unfold she becomes reckless and improper according to the misogynistic standards of the late nineteenth century society. Her husband, Leonce Pontellier, notices some unfamiliar peculiarity within Edna and decides to consult a specialist, Doctor Mandalet; for fear that she has become mentally insane. Leonce tells Doctor Mandalet that “she’s odd…her whole attitude towards me and everybody and everything has changed” (Chopin 88). Her oddness according to Leonce is her growing independence and becoming her own person. All Edna wants is to not be tied down and to be a slave to her family and her children; she only wants to be free. During the time period of Edna it is very strange because women were often characterized as mother-women who are at the constant will of their husband and wholeheartedly devoted to their family. In this way Edna is not depicted as a commoner, she is different because she has progressive ideas and wants more from life than what is allotted to her. Therefore, Edna rejects the depiction of the common man seen in many protagonists of realist literature. A common theme within all realist works is that characters are depictions of the common man. Chopin specifically uses Edna to symbolize her novel’s rejection of the popular literary movement during the late nineteenth century. Chopin wanted to contrast her novel from many other literary works; she wanted her novel, like Edna, to be independent. It brings forth change for women by giving them a role model. Woman who are like Edna are often rejected by society, but some of their friends and family try to lure them back to the patriarchal society and force them to conform. Edna’s close friends, Adele Ratignolle, believes she is helping Edna by forcing her to adapt to the society she lives in. However Adele and Edna are vastly different; Adele is the epitome of the mother-woman because she unreservedly devotes herself to her husband and children. It is found that “Adele often pressures Edna to conform to social standards…Despite prompting from all sides to follow the expected path, Edna is incapable of conforming” (Green). Adele is a realist character because she is the portrayal of a common woman during the time. She tries to force Edna to become a realist character by begging her to return to her family and be compliant with the misogynistic society. Adele is trying to force Edna to become the depiction of the common woman found in realist literature. Edna is incapable of becoming a commoner, she will always be different and progressive through her search for freedom. Therefore she is incapable of exhibiting qualities of a protagonist in realist novels. Edna’s outright refusal to conform is Chopin’s way of symbolizing the novel’s complete