Outward Rebellion In Kate Chopin's 'The Awakening'

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Patrick Freed Mrs. Snyder AP Lit & Comp 20 August 2014 In the novel “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, inward rebellion is a recurring theme amongst characters. Chopin wrote that the main character, Edna Pontellier possessed “that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions” (13). The tensions between this outward conformity and inward questioning leave a sense of emptiness in Edna’s life which contributes to her several awakenings throughout the novel. From the very beginning of the novel, it is apparent that Edna is not quite the same as the rest of the people at Grand Isle. Though conforms to societal norms and seems like a typical housewife, Edna Pontellier has a part of herself inside that is always questioning her actions. She does not understand their complete freedom of expression or their “absence of prudery” (Chopin 9). Edna’s lack of understanding quickly slips to a feeling of emptiness. This feeling of emptiness causes Edna to long for something to fill the void within her. Shortly after this, Edna realizes that she does not love her husband and that it is time for her to cast off the shackles of…show more content…
It was “as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul.” (Chopin 27) After Edna takes a dip in the pool of knowledge, she starts to really evaluate her life. When Edna went swimming in the ocean it was as if she had been reborn, which freed her mind to contemplate ideas that she might otherwise never have pursued. Edna’s most crucial awakening is that she; herself has both the potential and the power to live her life in such a way that pleases her. Once Edna wraps her mind around this fact, a world of realization strikes her. She is awakened to a growing sense of romantic interest and sexual attraction towards Robert and also to a growing sense of her artist ability and personal

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