The Awakening

Beauty in the Breakdown 10th Grade

The women of the Victorian era were considered to be property of their spouse; their wealth and societal standings being determined by that of their husbands. It was vital for a woman to marry, have children, and remain committed to her family to maintain a positive reputation. In 1899, novelist Kate Chopin wrote The Awakening to exploit the eager oncoming of a feminist era in the years to come. In this novel there is an overwhelming presence of Victorian culture, along with the modest influence of the tactless and crass Creole culture that inhabited New Orleans in the late nineteenth-century, making the environment for Edna Pontellier all the more difficult to inhabit. Mrs. Pontellier is a wife and mother who is openly rebellious towards the society in which she lives, as she makes her own efforts to employ her freedom and independence in a society that classifies these actions as unorthodox. Her husband, Leonce Pontellier, is a stereotypical man of the Victorian era; he values what others think about him and his family and would prefer that his wife live in misery with him than to be happy while causing a social uproar. Edna embarks on a sexual and spiritual awakening which ends with her decision to commit suicide in the same...

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