Literary Analysis of Edna Pontellier Quotes in the Novel “Awakening” By Kate Chopin

Gauthier 1

Name: Damon L. Gauthier
Course: Engl. 1023-10243
Prof: Libersat
Date: October 20, 2016
Literary Analysis of Edna Pontellier Quotes in the Novel “Awakening” By Kate Chopin
‘Awakening’ is a novel by Kate Chopin and it presents Edna Pontellier as the main character who decided to change her behavior, act against the social norms, and live an independent life. The Awakening begins when Edna goes to the summer holiday in Grand Isle with her husband Leonce and their sons. Leone is benevolent and loving though he does not spend much time with his family because of work. Thus, Edna forms social interaction with a Creole woman known as Adele Ratignolle. In their relationship, Edna learns knew things such as freedom of expression, how to live an independent life, and how to adopt behaviors that will give her life satisfaction. Generally, the relationship changes her life completely in that she gains self-discovery and forms love affairs with the son Madame Lebrun who is known as Robert and later goes back to New Orleans where she turns away from society norms and engages in detrimental behavior with men.
In Grand Isle, both Edna and Robert start spending time together in the summer holiday, enjoys swimming, bathing and such things. Despite the fact that both do not discuss about love, Edna’s emotions reflect on sexuality and youth desires. Robert also notices that the relationship is strong and in order to avoid more close contact with Edna, he moves out from Grand Isle and Edna go back to New Orleans (Chopin 3). In order to understand how Edna acts against her former style, it is important to note that when she returns to New Orleans she lives an independent life, fails to comply with her social responsibility, and rejects the male dominion (Chopin 2). One day, she is left home alone with his husband and children and she gets the chance to relocate from her home to a new residence where she lives an independent life and forms a sexual relationship with Alcee Arobin (Chopin 4). Edna’s irresponsive behaviors are explicit when he states that “I would give up the essential: I would give up my money. I would give my life for my children: but I wouldn’t give myself” (Chopin 122). She states these words when Robert decides to dump her and at this time she develops the solitude and views the whole world against her. She declares that she can do anything to satisfy the life of others but she will never control her life. She decides not to follow the society norms and finally she views the society as oppressive and commits suicide to free from it.
Edna is a woman aged 28years, a character who lacks marriage satisfaction and she is not pleased with the old-fashioned lifestyle. She experiences a significant change in her whole life and feels that she has come across a true life that will satisfy her feminist nature. Literally, the author symbolizes Edna as the green and yellow parrot which sings ‘Allez Vous-en! Allez vous-en! And no one understood the language. In this case, Edna wants to live a personal life and have a self-reflection without disturbance from his husband, children, and even friends (Chopin 1). In the society, she is different with his family and other families in the society as she is a Presbyterian, and she does not have a woman character such as love for her family simply because she is controlled by infatuation and sensuality. While in Grand Ise, she tells Robert Lebrun that “you have been a very foolish boy, wasting your time dreaming of impossible things when you speack of Mr Pontellier setting me free! I am no longer one of Mr Pntellier possessions…” (Chopin 283). This clearly shows that Edna lacks self-worth and she does not belong to her husband, Mr Pontellier. She tries to make it clear to Robert that she has an independent life, self-control, and the authority to give her love and time to anyone she wants. She even lacks the motherly love to her children since she is controlled by love and romantic character. The big question which emerges in the character of Edna is that initially, Edna was sexually repressed and had a positive character but now she has changed completely and she is interested with independent and lonely life. Her life changes when she forms social relationship with Creoles woman who teaches her the norms of new lifestyle (Chopin 2).
Nepo (3) assert that people are born with a Psyche which makes a person feel free from regret, embarrassment and other negative expectations. However, people are troubled by lack of confidence which makes life unworthy. In the Awakening, there is a conflict between social life and human freedom. Edna as the main character wants to live against the norms of Victorian society. The conflict begins when she realized that she is satisfied with her marriage and wants to interact with Robert. Though after a short period she is left alone, she moves to a new apartment to continue with her independent life. At this point, she is condemned by the society and at this point she is depressed and realizes that her actions cannot be accepted by the society (Nepo 12). The conflict between the society conventions and her perceptions makes it hard to resolve the matter and she decides to commit suicide.
The author presents a woman who tries to struggle with the society and her life nature. In her society, Edna is defined as a controversial person who rejects the woman role and motherhood responsibility. She rejects the nature and the community structure and the two disconnects her with Leoneand sons Raoul, and Etienne (Bloom 1). However, Edna notices that her role models do not lead her to the right path. She gains a new understanding and notices that her behavior, freedom and individuality are against the society norms. At this point, she recognizes her faults but decides to commit suicide to free away from negative behaviors and embarrassment. Boom (15) assert that a person cannot succeed in life if he or she does not create a relationship between internal and outer roles. In her case, she starts to regret and asserts that “…. I am 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…” (Chopin 215). At this point, Edna starts to realize that society would view her with a negative sight and define her as a useless woman who does not value her motherhood. Though she notices her fault, she does not accept that she is bad but believes that one day she will reconcile with her family as well the society.
In the novel, the author represents the women character and the role they play in the society. Edna experiences a difficult life and at the end she tries to free herself from the society since she understands that no one will accept her. Instead of restructuring her life and returning back to her former roles, she forms a conflict with her emotions, fails to maintain her role and commits suicide. According to the novel, Edna lives in a society where women are supposed to fulfill their roles so that they can be recognized. A woman who rejects the woman role as well as the society norms is undervalued. Edna at this point is rejected by the society since his husband had taken the matter seriously and warned her for failing to give her children their rights focusing on Edna’s character, it is important to note that she is childish and irresponsible. She is irresponsible because she fails to perform her role in the family and also fails to give her family the parental love. Her childishness character is explicit because she is emotional immature as she is controlled by negative emotions and leaves her family to engage in irresponsive behaviors. The two traits play role in her awakening and she is exposed to the world materialist nature. Edna’s irresponsible behavior hinders her in unifying with society and her life ends with death.

Work Cited
Bloom, Harold. Kate Chopin’s the Awakening. New York: Infobase, 2008. Internet resource.
Nepo, Mark. The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have. Berkeley, Calif: Conari Press, 2000. Print.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Copyright, 1899, By Herbert S. Stone & Co.

Did it help you?

Cite this Page

Literary Analysis of Edna Pontellier Quotes in the Novel “Awakening” By Kate Chopin. (2022, Feb 11). Retrieved from

Need customer essay sample written special for your assignment?

Choose skilled expert on your subject and get original paper with free plagiarism report

Order custom paper

Without paying upfront