The Awakening Rhetorical Analysis

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Now considered classic among similarly didactic works is Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. Written in 1899, it holds a strong social message considering the liberation of women - particularly in a romantic, social and even sexual sense. Just as strong, and quite necessary for this social message is a well crafted work of literature. For, as we’ll come to see, Chopin’s commentary is not only dependent on, but is also completely intertwined with, various literary elements. To start, the beginning of Edna’s inner conflict, and subsequent change, lies with Chopin’s use of two literary foils. The first, and most obvious, foil is Edna’s business minded and nonsensical husband, Leonce. Take, for instance, the way Chopin deals with the novel’s first interaction between the two. Leonce is described as viewing his wife as, “a valuable piece of personal…show more content…
Rather than depict this situation as being negative, as many writers of her time most undoubtedly would have, Chopin describes it as being joyous and relieving. For example, she says that, “when Edna was at last alone, she breathed a big, genuine sigh of relief. A feeling that was unfamiliar but very delicious came over her.” (97) Furthermore, as Edna walks through her house, enjoying the absence of her family, the tone is of a light-hearted and pleasant spirit in order to reinforce the writer’s social message. Chopin extends her social commentary by saying, “[t]here was with [Edna] 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 an individual.” (127) Therefore we see that The Awakening’s underlying romantic theme is one - and very likely the most successful - of the various literary elements used by Chopin to address social

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