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The Awakening Research Papers

The Awakening by Kate Chopin is one of the most widely studied stories in early American literature. Have Paper Masters custom write your research paper on Chopin's The Awakening and our writer will focus on any particular character, element of the plot, theme or historical relevance you need explicated.

Kate Chopin’s 1899 novel, The Awakening, is both complex and subtle. Many research papers of the book focus on the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, and her need to break free from the restraints of society in order to pursue her goals. Modern critics characterize Edna as scandalous, selfish, amoral, and unfit by critics of Kate Chopin in her time and as a woman ahead of her time. The AwakeningAn evaluation of modern critiques leads to the conclusion that Edna Pontellier was a woman suffering from depression caused by the restraints placed on her gender by society and by her inability to express herself in a manner that allowed her to break free of these restraints. The differing views of Edna according to the critics who lived approximately a century apart reveal important changes in the way women are now viewed and treated by society.

Your research paper may contend the following points:

  • That Chopin did not intend for Edna to come off with such a negative image in the novel.
  • Your research paper could show Chopin intended to portray Edna Pontellier as a woman living her life from outside the Creole culture.
  • Debate Chopin's true intent for her feminist stance in the story.

She is neither happy nor unhappy in her role as wife and mother before her trip to the Grand Isle resort. It is not until Edna spends the summer at the resort that she realizes her actions in marrying her husband were self-defeating in nature.

The least influential of all the characters in Edna’s life is Alcée Arobin. Although Edna defies the moral codes of society by having an affair with Alcée, she does so only as a means of fulfilling her own sexual desires. She has no interest in Alcée other than as a means to an end. Therefore, she is not interested in what he does, thinks or says unless it directly impacts her.

Edna’s journey for what she believes is her heart’s greatest desire is littered with both personal gains and losses. Even so, she fails to understand the impact of societal norms in her evaluation of who she is, “One of these days I’m going to pull myself together for a while and think – try to determine what character of a woman I am; for, candidly, I don’t know. By all the codes which I am acquainted with, I am a devilishly wicked specimen of the sex”. Edna Pontellier never truly achieves her goals and dreams. She exchanges her moral and social obligations for her dream of independence. She looses both of these in the search for self and her life in the search for freedom. Chopin portrays Edna as a woman who gets lost in her youthful visions of romance and her ideas of the way she thinks life ought to be. Although Edna briefly achieves some measure of independence, she is forced to come to terms with the fact that what she truly wants is not socially permitted. Rather than live the life deemed socially unacceptable, Edna chooses to take the next step toward achieving freedom forever.

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