The Cult Of Domesticity In Chopin's The Awakening

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In The Awakening, Edna has a realization that she wants to break free from her marriage, but is ultimately defeated by the power of the Cult of Domesticity. Chopin presents Edna with the most stereotypical characteristics of a married woman. Edna is Leonce’s housewife and her children's’ mother. Edna is nothing for herself; rather, she is an object of others. Chopin describes Leonce speaking to his wife, stating, “looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of property” (4). By describing Edna as a piece of property, Chopin assigns Edna with the role of the “ideal woman” to support her husband and raise good children. True women posses piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity. They are often expected to hold these qualities and do not have many other rights.…show more content…
Mandelet about his dissatisfactions with Edna, Leonce explains, “She’s got some sort of notion in her head concerning the eternal rights of women” (63). There is a common belief in society that a married women is not entitled to the same rights as men or even unmarried women. Eventually, Edna realizes that she can have freedom if she breaks away from her marriage. She proclaims, “I’m not going to be forced into doing things… I want to be let alone. Nobody has any right — except children, perhaps— and even then, it seems to me— or it did seem” (105). Edna thinks that she will be happiest alone: “When Edna was at last alone, she breathed a big, genuine sigh of relief” (69). However, the power of social constructions ultimately defeats Edna. Edna believes that: “There was no human being whom she wanted near her except Robert” (108). The heroine who initially believes that she will break free from social constructions really only strengthens them by going after another

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