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Women's Emancipation in The Awakening - Essay Example

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Women’s emancipation is the one of the main themes of the story “The Awakening.” It touches on the topic of womanhood, specifically in the bounds of marriage and family life…
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Womens Emancipation in The Awakening
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"Women's Emancipation in The Awakening"

Download file to see previous pages Edna had a strong and passionate spirit but this died down with her marriage to her husband, Leonce. When she became Mrs. Pontiellier, she took it upon herself to live a life of responsibility, leaving who she was before they got married. Her marriage to Leonce was not perfect. In fact, there were times when she cries at night confused on the reason she was crying (Chap.3, par.10.). But during that night, she felt even more oppressed, even to the point of feeling anguish about her situation. Her emotions during that specific night during their summer vacation indicated that, although she realizes there was something wrong with how she felt, she strived to keep it to herself. Notice that she didn’t mention anything to her husband about how she felt during night the next morning. It was as if nothing was wrong. This was a typical scene for women of the 1800s. Chopin described Edna to be a slave of the social expectations of marriage and motherhood. Edna’s individuality was cast aside to become what is to be expected of a woman in marriage, a supportive wife and doting mother. But Edna was not entirely such a person. She acted only as if she was that person because she was expected to do so. Her husband even had to persuade her to check their son during the night he believed the young one had a fever (Chap.3, par. 6). Chopin was not alone in her belief how married women acted and felt. Ibsen shared this idea as seen in “The Doll House.” In this story, Nora led a difficult life because of the social expectation that her husband is supposed to be the dominant figure in their family. She also had the same strong spirit that Edna exhibited in “The Awakening.” But the same with Edna, Nora was unable to show how strong she is because of the bounds of marriage. Marriage is not a bad thing. Most, if not all, women envision themselves to become married and have a family. What turns this around are the social expectations linked to marriage. One of the heaviest things that society has linked to marriage is the expectation that it is the husband that is supposed to lead and to provide for the family. Although social expectations increased the confidence and the responsibility of men, it decreased women’s participation in the family. Yes, it is the wife who becomes the mother and the housekeeper of the family. Yes, her role in the family has a great bearing in maintaining the family’s connection with each other. But with this role, the woman releases her connection with herself, as that with Edna and Nora. She lets go of her individuality, of who she is, when she becomes a wife and a mother. Edna and Nora followed the demands of the society to become perfect partners, even if it meant they hide their true feelings and beliefs on what their husbands were doing. When women become wives, they are expected to keep the family intact. And so, when Edna and Nora acted upon their own desires and wants, the image of their families were jeopardized. The society expects that families should always be whole and when something bad happens, it is blamed on the women although it is not entirely their fault. This is not to justify the actions of both female characters. This is to show that because of the strings tied to them through marriage and social expectations, these female characters were repressed of their own emotions and individual personalities. When Edna and Nora realized that their marriage was actually killing who they were, they decided to let go of their marriage not to become free of the obligations of family life but to become free from the repressing environment that kills their own desires to take care of the family. They did not leave their families just because they want to become single ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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