The Awakening: Edna's


The society of Grand Isle places many expectations on its women to belong to
men and be subordinate to their children. Edna Pontellier's society, therefore,
abounds with "mother-women," who "idolized their children, worshipped their
husbands, and esteemed it to a holy privilege to efface themselves as
individuals". The characters of Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz
represent what society views as the suitable and unsuitable woman figures.
Mademoiselle Ratignolle as the ideal Grand Isle woman, a home-loving mother and
a good wife, and Mademoiselle Reisz as the old, unmarried, childless, musician
who devoted her life to music, rather than a man. Edna oscillates between the
two ...

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and how she feels about
herself, which greatly differs from the mother-woman image. She says: "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. I can't make it more clear; it's only
something I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me." This
specifically contrasts the mother-woman idea of self-sacrificing for your
husband and children. Also, the "something . . . which is revealing itself"
does not become completely clear to Edna herself until just before the end, when
she does indeed give her life, but not her self for her children's sake.
Although Edna loves her children she does not confuse her own life with theirs.
Similarly to Edna's relationship with her children is that with her husband,
Leonce. The Grand Isle society defines the role of wife as full devotion
towards their husband and to self-sacrafice for your husband. Edna never adhered
to the societies definition, even at ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 1/8/2004 08:51:07 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 804
Pages: 3

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