The Awakening by Kate Chopin Feminism and Oppression of Women (2).docx

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Surname 1 Name: Professor: Course: Date: The Awakening by Kate Chopin: Feminism and Oppression of Women The novel was written at the end of the 19 th century a time when women’s role was in their homes to bear and rear children. Kate Chopin is known for her feminism literally works, which were controversial as they showed another side of women and condemned the patriarchal society. This is reflected in The Awakening through Edna Pontellier, the protagonist of the novel. Chopin gives the story of Edna, who yearns to go against the expectation of women in society through seeking to gain independence. Edna does not want to conform to the expectations of women in the nineteenth and seeks to forge a path for herself. She is bent of defining herself as an individual rather than that of mother and wife that society had defined her in. The Awakening shows the oppression of women in the patriarchal society and feministic themes that help them redefine themselves. Oppression of women is evident in the novel through the characters of different women in the novel. Women are subjected to domestic labor, and their main role is to serve the men in their lives. For example, Leonce Pontellier, Edna's husband, dominates her, and imposes authority. This is also through viewing her as personal property rather than as a human being. Mr. Pontellier expects Edna to take care of her children and please him and has to have an identity (Sharma 883) right. Chopin indicates that Mr. Pontelleir viewed Edna as personal property. This is evident when Chopin postulates that Pontellier gazed at his wife the same way someone would look valuable property that was damaged (Chopin 5). The rings in the novel are
Surname 2 not only a symbol of marriage but also a symbol of ownership of Edna to her husband. At the beginning of the novel, Mr. Pontelleir gives Edna the ring back after she had taken them off when going for a swim. In another instance in the novel, Edna is self-aware and wants to build her self-identity. The scene shows Edna showing frustration for her marriage and removes her ring and stamps upon it. Chopin indicates that Edna threw the ring on the floor, stamping "her heel upon it, striving to crush it" (Chopin 50). This demonstrated that Edna wants to destroy the symbol that makes the society see her attached ton Mr. Pontelleir. In the plot, Chopin indicates that marriage and motherhood is viewed as a sign of oppression as it restricts women more than giving them independence as adults. Her marriage with Mr. Pontelleir is depicted as one that was based on securing wealth and position in the society rather than based on love and attraction. As such, this h showed that women had no say during the choosing of marriage partners. Chopin indicates that marriage was mainly for convenience and to seek alliances for financial gain.

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