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english 232 paper 1 - Brooke Galietto English 232 Edwards...

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Brooke Galietto February 18, 2011 English 232 – Edwards Paper #1 Virginia Woolf argues in A Room of One’s Own that a woman of Shakespeare’s time could not possibly produce literature because girls were not entitled to education or experience but rather were kept in the home and groomed for marriage and domesticity. As a result, women were dependant and lacked knowledge and creativity. Although Edna Pontellier is a woman of the nineteenth century, she is a product of the stifling upbringing Woolf refers to and therefore lacks maturity and self-reliance. Although Edna seems to be a typical high society housewife, she is fundamentally different from her friends and neighbors. Unlike most of her female peers, Edna subconsciously craves freedom, autonomy, and true love while she is locked in a loveless yet socially respected marriage. These may seem like mature and respectable realizations I argue that these feelings confuse Edna and make her ultimately more childish. These desires torment Edna distancing her from the people around her and creating an all- consuming plague of dissatisfaction. Although Edna may come off as selfish, perhaps the root of the issue is that she never had the opportunity to grow up. Woolf speaks on behalf of women in general who were restricted intellectually. Chopin uses Edna Pontellier as a foil for nineteenth century women whose lives were planned out for them despite a woman’s individual desires. For example, today we are accustomed to women falling in love and then carefully planning a wedding but that was not the case for Edna Pontellier. On the contrary, Chopin writes, “Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident” (18). Neither the women Woolf refers to nor Edna
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Pontellier have the opportunity to cultivate the materials necessary to write literature or in Edna’s case mature into a unique and satisfied individual.
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