19 Aug 2022


How the male characters "The Awakening" helped in the establishment of Edna's options in life

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Academic level: College

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The male characters in the novella stir Edna options in life in different ways. For instance, inwardly (she develops love feelings for Robert), artistically (Edna rediscovers her artistic creation ability and utilizations it to become financially stable), physically (she figures out how to swim and finds her own body), and sexually (Edna lays down with Alcée Arobin for pleasure). Kate Chopin permits Edna to increasingly challenge the roles forced upon her by the male- dominated society with no criticism or judgment. In this case, it is the feeling that she had descended the social scale that led to an appraisal in her spirit. Therefore, they are the male characters in her life that stirred her options which she used in calming herself from further commitments improving the quality of her life and boosting her inner strengths as a woman. 

Edna is in her late twenties and has been in a relationship with Léonce Pontellier for a long time. At the beginning she is the loyal spouse, having brought forth two children. However, within, she is not a "mother-woman". Unlike the other women in the novel, Edna is different. Regardless of his relationship with Léonce Pontellier, she does not become like them. For instance, Edna is not an epitome of the perfect Creole lady like her companion Adèle Ratignolle (Chopin & Knights, 2010). Indeed, even as a kid she had caught intuitively a double life - that outward presence which accommodates, the internal life which questions. Therefore, Edna is different as she would have her place with specific dignity in the male-dominated society, unlike the other women. 

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Edna spots the two lovers, followed by the woman in black. What role do these minor characters play? What is their connection to Edna? 

The two lovers spotted by Edna symbolize her longing to have a fulfilling relationship with Robert: not simply with talks, but rather a physical joining and also an emotional one. The lady in black could well symbolize death. (Likewise a lady in that time wearing black was undoubtedly grieving, this was a sign of loosing someone with close ties.) the woman in black could also symbolize Edna's loss of love and affection for her husband, or the end of her marriage in heart. Additionally, assembling these characters, it is agreeable that the presence of the woman in black and the two lovers foretell the story's end. For not able to have the life she needs (as a lover to Robert), Edna commits suicide rather than living a life which has no meaning. (Death is symbolized by the woman in black.) 


Chopin, K., & Knights, P. (2010).  The awakening, and other stories . Oxford [u.a.: Oxford University Press. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). How the male characters "The Awakening" helped in the establishment of Edna's options in life .


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