The Awakening

The Search for Happiness

In The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, unsatisfied Edna longs for something to sweep her off her feet. When it does, in the form of fresh love Robert, Edna realizes that she must choose between her family and her own mind and soul. At this realization, Edna understands the distinction between life and self - and chooses self alone. This decision changes Edna forever, as her passion-less life becomes one full of zealous passion, and in the end, concludes with perhaps the most passionate act of all.

Edna's married life, spent in caring for her family, lacked any emotional or physical passion because her marriage revolved around an acquaintance-like relationship. Edna, before marrying, had always been a passionate person. Leonce had proposed to her in "the midst of her secret great passion" (62); she had accepted this marriage because of "the violent opposition of her father and her sister Margaret to her marriage with a Catholic" (62). Edna admits that she enjoyed rebelling against shackling authority-she would have to seek "no further for the motives" (62) to marry the Catholic Leonce. He also seemed sufficiently passionate at first, but eventually "no trace of passion or excessive and...

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