The society of Grand Isle places many outlooks on its adult females to belong to work forces and be subordinate to their kids. Edna Pontellier ’ s society, hence, abounds with “ mother-women, ” who “ idolized their kids, worshipped their hubbies, and esteemed it to a holy privilege to obliterate themselves as persons . The characters of Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz represent what society positions as the suited and unsuitable adult females figures. Mademoiselle Ratignolle is the ideal Grand Isle adult female, a home-loving female parent and a good married woman. Mademoiselle Reisz is the old, single, childless, instrumentalist who devoted her life to music alternatively of a adult male. Edna switches between the two individualities until she awakens to the fact that she needs to be an single, but brushs resistance from society. This begins the procedure of her waking up.
Chopin carefully establishes that Edna does non pretermit her kids, but merely her mother-woman image. Chopin illustrates the thought by stating the reader, “ … Mrs. Pontellier was non a mother-woman . Edna tries to explicate to Adele how she feels about her kids and how she feels about herself, which greatly differs from the mother-woman image. She says, “ I would give up the inessential ; I would give my money ; I would give my life for my kids ; but I wouldn ’ t give myself. I can ’ Ts make it more clear ; it ’ s merely something I am get downing to grok, which is uncovering itself to me.
Similarly to Edna ’ s relationship with her kids is that with her hubby, Leonce. The Grand Isle society defines the function of married woman as full devotedness and selflessness for your hubby. Edna ne’er adhered to societies definitions. For illustration, the other ladies at Grand Isle “ all declared that Mr. ’ Pontellier was the best hubby in the universe . And “ Mrs. Pontellier was forced to acknowledge she knew of none better. By utilizing words like “ forced ” and “ admit ” , Edna has to admit her true feelings towards Leonce. Edna ’ s go forthing Leonce ’ s sign of the zodiac is another of import item when sing the procedure of her waking up. By traveling to her ain abode, Edna takes a large measure towards her independency. Throughout The Awakening, Edna progressively distances herself from the image of the mother-woman, until her self-destruction, which serves as the entire antonym of the mother-woman image.
Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz, the two of import female back uping characters, provide the two different individualities Edna associates with. Adele serves as the perfect mother-women in The Awakening, being both married and pregnant, but Edna does non follow Adele ’ s footfalls. For Edna, Adele appears unable to comprehend herself as an single homo being. She possesses no sense of herself beyond her function as married woman and female parent. Adele exists merely in relation to her household, non in relation to herself or the universe. Edna desires individualism, and the individuality of a mother-woman does non supply that. In contrast to Adele Ratignolle, Mademoiselle Reisz offers Edna an option to the function of being yet another mother-woman. Mademoislle Reisz has in copiousness the independency that Adele wholly lacks. But Reisz ’ s life deficiencies love, while Adele abounds in it. Mademoiselle Reisz ’ s solitariness makes it clear that an equal life can non construct wholly upon independency. Although she has a unafraid sense of her ain independency and individualism, her life deficiencies love, friendly relationship, or heat.
What Edna chooses for her individuality is a combination of Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz. More honorable in self-awareness than Adele, more dependent on human relationships than Reisz.
In The Awakening the adult female ’ s existence intertwines with her maternal nature. Edna ’ s sense of herself as a complete individual makes impossible her function of married woman and female parent as defined by her society ; yet she discovers that her function of female parent besides makes impossible her go oning development as an independency adult females. So her ideas as she walks into the sea remark deeply on the individuality jobs that adult females face, “ She thought of Leonce and the kids. They were a portion of her life. But they need non hold thought that they could possess her, organic structure and psyche . Unable to hold a full homo being, Edna chooses to hold none at all.
Chopin, Kate. “ The Awakening ” . American Literature Volume II: Realism to the Present, 6th edition. Ed. George McMichael. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, 1997. 683-775.