The Awakening And The Pigeon House

1381 Words6 Pages
People are defined and judged by societal norms. Men are judged on their athleticism and strength while women are constantly evaluated by their looks. In the nineteenth century women were confined to roles as wives and mothers. In The Awakening by Kate Chopin and A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, both protagonists face a similar oppression. Both Edna Pontellier and Nora Helmer realize their oppression and have an awakening, however while Edna’s awakening is about her freedom, Nora’s is about her self-worth as more than just an embodiment of a societal norm. It is evident that Edna Pontellier does not accept her role in society from the beginning of The Awakening. Described as “not a mother-woman” (9) it can be identified by the reader that she does…show more content…
This is shown on page 111 when Chopin writes, “The Pigeon House pleased her….There was with her a feeling of having descended in the social scale, with a corresponding sense of having risen in the spiritual. Every step which she took toward relieving herself from obligations added to her strength and expansion as individual.” By finally leaving her husband and obligations physically, Edna feels more like herself, more like the free person that she wants to be. Another example of Edna’s search for freedom is her befriending of Mademoiselle Reisz. Mademoiselle Reisz is an oddity in this society due to the fact that she is without a husband, therefore she is “free” in a sense. By having Edna be drawn towards her, Chopin is once again showing her desire for autonomy. Edna is fascinated with Reisz’s lifestyle and work in the arts and constantly wants to be around her. She is gravitated towards the feeling of laxity and liberation. While Edna takes steps toward her freedom, she is still a woman living in a patriarchal society. She will always be a subordinate in society, and although she has discovered her strength as a human as
Open Document