The Awakening: Tragedy or Comedy
The Awakening: Tragedy or Comedy

The Awakening: Tragedy or Comedy

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In The Awakening. the heroine Edna Pontellier tries to wake from the accustomed domesticity of a homemaker to go an existent being in the late nineteenth century American society. For her realisations have led her to assorted open uping determinations as a married woman and as a female parent. it seems in world the “awakening” does non necessitate to an existent release of her life. Afterall. is the “awakening” a calamity or comedy for her? The flicker of Edna’s rousing starts in the summer in Grand Isle. It comes bit by bit with the get downing dissatisfaction in a submissive household life.

In the really beginning of the book. when Leonce returns from Klein’s hotel “in high spirits” . Edna was asleep after taking attention of her kids. When her response does non fulfill his outlook. he vents his choler to critize Edna’s “habitual disregard of the children” while in fact the kids are absolutely all right. The cryings are “not uncommon in her married life” . as the courtesies of Leonce is depended on “a certain silent submisssiveness” in his married woman. that this “submissiveness” has driven Edna to make things she does non wish at all.

In fact as we are told. Edna is non “a mother-woman” . She does non bask domesticity as her familiarity Madame Ratignolle does. Her love for her kids is besides “ in an uneven. unprompted way” . that they are an endearing load for her which are ever in demand of her attention. This changeless dissatisfaction in her household life has striked her to believe about h


ow she is unsuitable for the traditional gender function of a female parent. The turning wont to Robert Lebrun’s presence besides reminds Edna’s insticts about love.

From her talk with Madame Ratigonelle. it is known that Edna’s matrimony with Leonce is “purely an acciedent” . which is merely romantic in Edna’s position with her father’s expostulation to the matrimony. Leonce has been a really gracious and loving hubby. carry throughing his responsibilities as a hubby. However. it is Robert who truly got her love. when love is really can non be forced upon even with the boundary of matrimony. Edna’s “one of the two contradictory urges which impelled her” to travel to the beach with Robert merely sufficiently illustrates how Edna starts moving harmonizing to her natural volitions. such as traveling out with the individual she loves.

Even the two have been moving decently all the clip in Grand Isle. their dependance on each other is apparent. When Robert annoucnes that he is traveling to Mexico. the defeat of Edna about Robert non adverting anything about it has reflected his importance in Edna’s bosom. When Edna says “Why. I was be aftering to be together. thought of how pleasant it would be to see you in the metropolis following winter” . it shows how Edna hopes their relationship can go on. even if Edna has non recognize that it may be a possible matter dirt.

In the ulterior portion of the narrative. Edna’s love for Robert becomes more evident in the manner how she misses him. when “Robert’s traveling had som

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manner taken the brightness. the colour. the intending out of everything” . Robert is a siginificant figure that reminds Edna of her natural inherent aptitude for love. that love is about her ain will and pick to take the individual she wants to remain with. and non strictly a notional wooing that flatters her. The important turning point for Edna procedure of realisation comes when Edna tries to swim out from the shore.

Her natural ability to larn swimming on her ain enlightens her that she can accomplish a accomplishment on her ain without anyone stating her what to make and how to make. The suden realisation excites her and encourages her to travel farther. to swim to “where no adult female had had swum before. ” It is a minute that Edna additions her power over her ain organic structure. It besides reveals the dangers of traveling beyond the norms when “a speedy vision of decease smote her soul” .

When the old disclosures merely remind her of her ain emotions and feelings. how she perceive things passively. this disclosure through swimming reminds her of her active ability to carry through without any signifier of assistance from anyone. It enables her to swim far out beyond the safe zone on land that adult females usually sunbath on. at the same clip enables her to actively believe about what and how to accomplish the dreams of her ain. The go oning realisation of her ain strengths and demands. nevertheless. does non fit with the world in the nineteenth century American society.

Edna’s individuality as a married adult female has already limited her possibilities since many duties have already been established through the matrimony. and are unable to change by reversal. The apparently avaiable options for her can non convey her anywhere in the terminal. Changes are siginificant after that summer in Grand Isle. Edna’s realisations has really driven her to divert from her usual submissive homemaker life. She foremost started with giving up her Tuesday “reception day” without any “suitable excuse” .

It is evident that this “reception day” is made for her hubby – that it is to keep acquaintance relationships with Leonce’s concern spouses. Furthermore. Leonce’s ailment reveals that Edna has non been looking after what is traveling on in the domestic family and allow the dinner turns bad. She thrashes her marrying ring and attempts to destruct it has symbolically reflected her desire to interrupt the ironss that constrained her in the unhappy matrimony life. Marriage. in her position. has now become “one of the most deplorable eyeglassess on earth” which she even refuses to travel to her sister’s nuptials.

Edna alterations towards the fanciness and worlds of matrimony are so apparent that even upset Leonce and her male parent. Edna farther thinks about “freedom and independence” . about “becoming an artist” . She starts believing about picking up painting once more with Laidpore. likely a pulling instructor. With Madame Ratignolle’s encouragement and larning from Laidpore. she starts selling studies. Her programs for “independence” include besides populating on her ain. in a “pigeon-house” which is little and cosy house that needs less

to be taken attention of.

The “instincts” for this freedom have “prompted her to set away her husband’s premium in castng off her allegiance” . without believing much about the effects. However. these actions are merely symbolically important to reflect Edna’s yearn to divert from Leonce’s control. With deep considerations we can see how these actions could non last: how about when Leonce comes back to confirm his control? How about when she has spent all her money and her studies are non yet good plenty to gain a life for herself?

Her actions seemingly give the impression of foolhardiness and do non possess serious considerations of the world of the society. So if we say it is sort of impossible for Edna to populate on her ain. how about a remarriage with her true love Robert? Their feelings have persisted even in the clip when they are apart. when Edna looks for her being in his letters and Robert subtly mentions about Edna in his letters to Mademoiselle Reisz. After Robert returns. they even confess and confirm their love for each other.

However. Robert does non wait for Edna’s return. but merely leaves a note stating “Goodby – because. I love you. ” As we can see throughout the narrative Robert has been a well-bred adult male. seeking non to step across the line of properness. In my sentiment. it is portion of his love for Edna because it prevents her from any shames of personal businesss. As Robert dreams about it wildy “recalling work forces who had set their married womans free” . it is evident that the first status needed is the consent of Leonce to let a divorce.

Second. even if Leonce sets Edna “free” in he most “impossible” manner. how will people judge her 2nd matrimony. with a adult male she was so close with when she is still married? Robert’s last going from Edna implies the tragic world that there is no hereafter for their love in the nineteenth century American society. that his lone hope is that his love will non convey any shames to the adult female he loves. Edna. still in the concatenation of matrimony. is non “free” if Leonce does non allow travel. Obviously. with the effort to restitute the house in covering his job in matrimony and suggest a trip with Edna. Leonce is non traveling to put his married woman “free” .

Upon all factors. kids have been a siginificant factor that has draw back Edna from recognizing her full ego. Even if the old suggestions can be true. that Edna may gain a life and unrecorded on her ain. or that Leonce allows the divorce and she marries her true love Robert. how about the kids? As Edna starts traveling into her ain small place. her kids are merely sent temporarily to their grandparents in Iberville. Even Edna has stated: “ I would give up the unessential… but I wouldn’t give myself” . the “unessential” are still may non be plenty for her kids.

In fact. she has to give clip and attempt in taking attention of the kids. the born kids which

are consequence of her matrimony that can non be reversed. Madame Ratignolle’s last susurrations “Think of the kids. Edna” unfeignedly remind Edna of her established familial duty that she can non get away. Under these fortunes. how would the awakened Edna. non to the full capable with the demand to develop. to be able to accomplish her on will? The symbolic stoping of Edna swimming out to the endless Waterss suggested the absence of possible issues for her emancipation from the boundaries of her gender functions.

Swimming has been a important and symbolic act throughout the narrative as Edna’s ability to accomplish with her ain strengths. with the frights and dangers that she has to confront in the class of accomplishment. Yet if liquid signifies her ability. the H2O of the Gulf is merely like the society and the universe. which she can accomplish here every bit good as drown here. The impression of endurance is evident in swimming. when even she is able to swim does non needfully means that she can travel and return safely.

Comparison with her first swim in the Gulf. Edna has gone farther without looking back the distance that she has gone. merely as in world she has been moving harmonizing to her volitions without much consideration that whether she can return. When “exhaustion was pressing on and overmastering her” . it reflects how she has passed the point of return to the safe shore when she can boldly stand her pess on. Although it is sort of symbolically epic when Edna tries to swim and accomplish what a adult female normally can non make in the nineteenth century. surival has been a job for her.

Looking back to the narrative told. Edna’s rousing does non look to convey her anyplace. It is evident that she has a happier life when she returns to New Orleans and declining to follow her husband’s instructions and act as she wants. Nevertheless. under different fortunes. because of her incapableness. because of constituted duties. she can non to the full get away the concatenation of married life. Edna is non a perfect heroine under Chopin’s description. but instead a immature married adult female who bears the impressions of love affair and foolhardiness.

Somehow her relationship with Robert can besides be interpretted as a certain exhilaration beyond the norms. merely as how she thinks her matrimony with Leonce is romantic because of her father’s expostulation. She is besides non a perfect creative person who can gain a life on her ain with her studies. as an creative person “must possess many gifts – absolute gifts – which have non been aquired by one’s ain effort” . While Edna’s actions of go forthing her place seem to bear the qualities of “the brave soul” that “dares and defies” . her “gifts” seem non sufficient plenty to raise her up from where she has been.

However. all these defects of Edna have proved how ordinary adult females in the nineteenth century can non recognize their ain egos under the societal boundaries as a married woman and a female parent. In fact. the normalness of Edna suggests

that this narrative can go on to any adult female in the scene – who may populate a loving married life depending on her ain submissiveness to the occassionally-courteous hubby. who may run into the love of her life after acquiring married and have no hereafter in the relationship. who may possess certain accomplishments but non yet good plenty to accomplish as the monetary value is so high that accomplishment is about unachievable.

If Edna is a tragic heroine who has waken but non realized. so this calamity might hold repeated many times in world. It is sad to see one who has eventually cognize her strengths and dreams. but fortunes have disabled the possibility of realisation. While we may mourn for the tragic stoping of Edna’s narrative of rousing. we may hold been glad for her that she did hold enjoyed portion of her life in moving harmonizing to her volitions. In the terminal. alterations can non be brought about if they are no innovators who dare and defy to take the really first stairss to do a alteration.