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The Awakening Literary Analysis

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Social acceptance or freedom, love or lust, these conflicts arise in The Awakening by Kate Chopin as Edna Pontellier struggles with her internal conflicts. In a time where women are expected to be subordinates, Edna begins to defy the standards and her oppressive husband. The first set of foils include Robert and Alcee, or love and lust respectively. In addition, compliance and individualism are exemplified by two polar characters: Adèle Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz. These women act as foils and provide references to the reader in understanding Edna’s awakening. On one hand, Adèle epitomizes the ideal woman of the nineteenth century, but Reisz represents the feminist movement; Robert and Alcee also develop as foils that impact Edna. Which …show more content…
Adèle and Reisz contribute to her development of independence. They also provide a reference for the reader to understand the radical change that Edna is undergoing. In terms of the scale, Edna’s lifestyle closely resembled that of Madame Ratignolle, the ideal mother-figure. While her awakening occurs, Edna begins to gain independence and develops her passions, a sign of corruption, eventually leading to her inevitable fall. As said various ways in the novel, “The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth” (112). Although Edna reaches out to Reisz for discussion, ultimately leading to her independence, she was not strong enough to deal with the ending isolation. She plummeted from her ascension and lost her life. Robert creates further conflict for Edna in that her love for him is consuming especially since she feels none towards her husband. This problem further develops when she has an affair with Alcee and betrays her true love. These actions are merely a product of her awakening and display her development and her development into Reisz’s lifestyle. The scalar values presented by the three women in terms of their relations with society assist in the propulsion of the plot. Edna is stuck in the center desperately trying to understand

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