The Awakening

Moral Relativism as a Matter of Perception in The Awakening and The Cherry Orchard 12th Grade

Morality can be defined as a society’s set of values and beliefs. This, in turn, moulds the subject position of the members belonging to this society and defines what they perceive as right and wrong, thus giving birth to moral relativism. Moral relativism is evident in both the texts we have studied- The Awakening by Kate Chopin and Cherry Orchard by Chekov. The Awakening follows the transformation of Edna Pontellier from an obedient, docile housewife into a sexually liberated, financially independent and self-realized being. It demonstrates the struggles of Edna to navigate through existing societal norms and focuses on the idea of individual versus society. The protagonist in the end, however, fails to find ease in living outside the norm and takes her own life which led to the novel being labelled under the genre of a tragedy. On the other hand, Cherry Orchard employs features of both tragedy and comedy even though Chekov explicitly refuses to have his works adhere to the features of either. In a letter to his friend Suvorin (1888), Chekov mentions that the work of the artist is to simply hold up a mirror to society, without passing any judgement. Hence, we can see that the Chekov relates events exactly how they appear...

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