The Awakening-Edna Pontellier Character Analysis
The authors of novels make use of different characters to relayvarious messages that are engraved into the themes of their write up.Kate Chopin, in her Awakening follows the tradition of writing andshe utilizes characters like Edna Pontellier and Mademoiselle Reiszto develop her theme of liberation from traditional bondage by thechief character. The brief overview will focus on analyzing Edna’scharacter in close relation to that her source of inspiration,Mademoiselle. The term awakening in the novel describes liberty andsense of freedom that Edna seeks to achieve in her entire life. Lifeinteractions between Edna and Mademoiselles sparked the need for Ednato pursue her passion and freedom to define her identity/destination.
Before she got married to Leonce, Edna had developed exceptionalcharacter traits, which involved great passion for art, romance andsexual satisfaction. The life was fun and fulfilling, and thisbrought a sense of accomplishment. However, after marriage, Ednaabandoned her earlier thrilling life as the good times of love,passion and adventure paved way for responsibilities to her childrenand submission to her husband. As per the tradition, a woman wassupposed to abandon wild desires and adventures to care for herfamily. In fact, Edna’s husband confirmed toher that the place fora woman was caring for her children and her husband at all times. “Ifit was a mother’s place to look for after children, whose on earthwas it?” (Chopin 12). The traditional demands compelled Edna tosuppress her desires and passions, at least for a while in her life.
However, the true identity of Edna was ignited by her interactionswith Mademoiselles that reminded her of what and whom she was. Theawakening describes an abrupt moment of realization that shakes acharacter from pretended behavior. Lots of people adopt behavior thattend to conform to the social norms and expectations. Under thesocial influence, an individual takes on behavior that is sociallydesired at the expense of his true character (Chopin76). In the event that an individual realizes that he needs todefine his identity and lead an independent life, that the turningpoint or the awakening. In the context of the novel, Edna realizedthat she to cut his identity and tailor his destiny, regardless ofthe social responsibilities that were gagging her adventurous life.
“The very first chords whichMademoiselles Reiszstruck upon the piano sent a keen tremor down Mrs.Pontellier’s spinal column. It was not the first time she had heardan artist at the piano. Perhaps it was the first time she was ready,perhaps the first time her being was tempered to take an impress ofthe abiding truth” (Chopin 66)
The major realization that Edna had in the entire novel was that shewas living in pretense, and that she needed to get hold of her life.Edna realized that she could shake everything else to pursue herinterests, which were both ambitious and egocentric. Like her sourceof inspiration, Mademoiselles, she realized that how other peopleperceived her was not important, but what she believed and held dear.
Edna met Mademoiselles in the novel who sparked the awakening of hersuppressed desires, which determined the course of events in theentire novel. Desires for freedom, sexual satisfaction and musicbecame alive following her association and interaction withMademoiselles (Chopin 68).Notably, Mademoiselles was a free woman who did what she liked most,and she did not follow the conventional rules that guided behavior.Apparently, Mademoiselles provided ample inspiration to Edna as shemade her way through the awakening process and period. Edna must haveadmired the fact that Mademoiselles did not bother interacting withpeople who did not understand her way of life, neither did she careabout what the people said (Chopin 88). Her life was reserved and sheisolated herself to the obvious social norms. In a nut shell,Mademoiselles was an independent person who was proud of her life andshe lived it as she deemed fit. That is an adorable trait in anindividual because not many people decide their character, identityand destiny. People tend to follow bandwagon of behaviors that arebelieved to be good to maintain social harmony (Chopin97). As it turned out, Edna was amazed by the love of musicheld by Mademoiselles and after having a conversation, the two becamegreat friends. Edna became inextricably attracted to the aged ladyand it seems she wished to be like her. As Edna’s relationship withMademoiselles grew stronger, Edna continued to take vital lessons oflife from the pianist, and her sense of awareness with regard topassionate love not submission became real. Similarly, Edna’sawareness with regard to passionate art gained a substantial boostfrom the activities of the pianist.
“But the very passionsthemselves were aroused within her soul, swaying it, lashing it, asthe waves daily beat her splendid body. She trembled, she waschoking, and the tears blinded her” (Chopin 66)
It is imperative to point out that the interaction between the twocharacters was key to the awakening process that Edna encountered.Just as Mademoiselles led an independent and solitary free ofsocietal influence, marriage of kids, Edna ended up the same way.Apparently she left her kids under the care of their grandmother andshe went free t adventure and feel life. Her choice of life was notapproved by the society, but that was not her concern. Edna wassomehow over ambitious, especially expecting that she could lead alife of sexual promiscuity as the people in her society found a wayof being okay with it.
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. NewYork: H.S. Stone & Company, 1899. Print