through mankind’s history, women have been su...
through mankind’s history, women have been subjected to play a subversive role
in the society. It is not until recent times that enhancements in the rights of
women have been attained. Individual citizens’ rights within the American
society were a fundamental aspect in the formation of this nation (Deena
39). These “individual rights” were very essential that they
had to be incorporated in the Constitution as well as the Declaration of Independence.
Most of Kate Chopin’s works have made an examination of women’s identities,
choices, as well as roles. Most of them express the feelings of women in
relation to their societal roles. One such work is “The Awakening.” Kate
Chopin’s “The Awakening” addresses strong opinions towards the natural rights
of women, as well as the role that the society’s conventions play in the
protection or infringement of these rights. It as well provides several reasons
in the justification of the society’s judgment.
to Tabb & Deviren (87), “The Awakening,” written by Kate Chopin, narrates
the account of Edna Pontellier; a woman who is trying to liberate herself in a
society that is filled with restrictions. Chopin creatively creates Edna’s
image by demonstrating her gradual rebellion to a society that places
restrictions to the rights of women as individuals. “The Awakening” tackles the
conditions that women faced within marriages in the late 19th century. In the
text by Kate Chopin, Edna is presented as a focal point for feminism. Edna’s
independence starts shining as she retreats from her husband and starts
building her individual “social credit.” The main character in the text, Edna,
is not satisfied with her life’s position of being a mother and wife too. She
later considers leaving her marital home so as to pursue her quest for freedom,
as well as the love of another man.
rights” play a significant role in the text “The Awakening.” However, the
author, Chopin, seems to portray these rights as being taken away from women by
the societal beliefs. Women in “The Awakening” do not seem to have “natural
rights” as the society that Kate Chopin describes places a lot of restrictions
towards them. Kate Chopin wrote the novel during a time when the revolution of
The Women’s Rights Movement had started, around mid-1800’s (Clingstone
90). Before this time, both wifehood, as well as motherhood, was considered as
the most noteworthy contribution towards the society. According to Tabb &
Deviren, “the early law in Rome depicted women as children, and that they were
eternally inferior in comparison with men” (213). Deena
asserts “Whereas there was an emphasis on individualism in the American
society, women in the same culture were conditioned in a manner that they were
to accept both a passive, as well as submissive role” (23).
society in the novel by Kate Chopin plays a significant role in the
infringement of the “natural rights” of individuals, particularly women. The
convention of the society’s life infringes the rights of Edna as an individual,
as well as other women by placing boundaries along with restrictions, for
instance, in terms of clothing. In the text, the clothes that Edna is to wear
are very modest, which is very similar to her life. Edna’s clothes are a
representation of a “cage” as she is supposed to conform to the society’s
conventions. However, when she strips away her garments, Edna’s prospective
rebellion against the society’s conventions is foreshadowed. For instance, she
wears “a cool muslin…and a big-straw hat” (43). The dressing that she chooses
defies her role in the society through revealing of her true self.
to Deena, “The lack of respect towards the
society’s conventions, which seem to be infringing on her individual freedom,
is imminent all through the text” (123). At one point, she ventures into the
ocean during the night after Ratignolle's party, where she appears as being at
the climax in her quest for independence. Edna displays her pristine hobby
before her friends by letting them watch her swimming into a new area of the
water, hence finding a novel part of herself. By so doing, Edna is now
“awakening” towards her independence as well as her female capacities, apart
from cleaning as well as cooking.
the story, Adele, who is Edna’s friend, is portrayed as being “good” in the
society’s eyes, as she conforms to its conventions, as well as she embraces the
role that the society has given her. Adele is the epitome of womanhood in the
perspective of the society. In the text, Adele is portrayed as a wife as well
as a mother, who prides in every job that the society expects her to do. She is
also conforming to the societal dress codes. Therefore, the fact that she is
considered as being “just” stems from her following of the restriction placed
upon women by the society. Whereas it is apparent that Adele is happy as well
as contented with her responsibilities, Edna is not happy with the same.
Despite her efforts to break away from this slavery, Edna is strongly advised
by those close to her that she may
require very strong wings if she has to break away from the restraints
that are placed upon her by the society’s expectations.
the reasons that were put forward to justify the society’s perception towards
women were based on religion, as well as the nature. According to Harrington,
“women were taught that their rights were sanctioned by God, along with the
nature” (90). The attributes that were preferred in a woman included
domesticity, faithfulness, purity, in addition to submissiveness. They were
made to accept as true that everything would be lost in case they violated this
restraining feminine convention that was set by the society.
conclusion, Kate Chopin’s novel, “The Awakening,” captures the fundamental
nature of the long struggle for the freedom, impartiality, as well as
independence of women in the society. The novel is significant in its influence
of the changing societal contexts on the perception of women. Edna goes through
periods of profound introspection and identifies the suppressive aspects of her
society, which brought anguish to her by sniffing on her desires as well as
emotional requirements. Following the liberation of Edna from the restraints
placed upon her by the society, she feels as if she is a newborn being. She
wanted to gain independence from a man, and Kate Chopin’s novel portrays her as
a champion for women’s rights. Edna refused to suppress her innermost desires as
well as feelings, and decided not to let the society dictate her, but to be the
captain of her destiny.