Kate Chopin's "Edna Pontlier of The Awakening" - a brief character analysis/overview

Essay by twinkiepinkHigh School, 12th gradeA+, May 2006

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Self-reconciliation and awareness of what one has done, and the realization that the problem can be countered is the case of Kate Chopin's "Edna Pontlier of The Awakening". An unhappy woman, who faced so much heartache and confusion, that through all the madness she has gone through an epiphany dawns upon her and has a life changing affect.

At the beginning of the novel, Edna quickly finds herself unable to tend to her responsibilities, and desperately seeks personal fulfillment. Though she cares for both her children and husband, she does not love them in the way that makes her satisfied; there is something lacking. She exists as merely a wife for her husband, and caregiver for her children. Edna invests so much time into duty and responsibility, and trying to fit into a mold she does not fit, that it is impossible for her to find happiness.

Edna fights against the norms of society by letting her "old self" slip away, and allows selfishness to take over.

At one point she explains to Mrs. Ratignolle that, "I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children, but I wouldn't give myself." She refuses to allow her inner flame to be put out by the bounds of motherhood. Her actions begin to resemble those of a child. She sinks into herself and shows a blatant disregard for the feelings of everyone around her. Her inability to deal with her emotions and lack of responsibility make her a shallow and weak individual. She sends her children away to be with her husband's family for the summer and moves out of her husband's home into a small bungalow where there is no place for her children. Her denial of responsibility is overwhelming and...