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Transcript of The Awakening
Character Setting: The story takes place in the 19th century and begins in Grand Isle, a vacation spot for wealthy Creoles. As the story progresses, the Creoles return to their homes in New Orleans.
Bildungsroman (novel of spiritual, intellectual, or moral evolution)
Over the course of the novel, Edna discovers her identity through many outlets, such as painting, swimming and defying her martial role and expectations.
The story ends with the suicide of the main character. the sea: represents unbounded and somewhat mysterious freedom (swimming represents courage)
the lovers: "The two young lovers were exchanging their hearts' yearnings beneath the children's tent..." They contrast the Pontellier marriage in that they are carefree, embodying freedom, love, and youth
the woman in black: "[she], creeping behind [the lovers], looked a trifle paler and more jaded than usual". This woman is a religous widow who represents the constant presence of social order/ propriety, and death of innocence. (always mentioned with the lovers)
Bird: symbolizes Edna inability to escape the reality of her life "A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over: "Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That's all right!"
Mademoiselle Reisz: symbolizes the free, independent woman Edna wishes to become
Adele Ratignolle: symbolizes the perfect 19th century housewife and mother The Awakening Symbols By Kate Chopin Protagonist: Edna Pontellier
-The novel centers around Edna Pontellier, a 28 year old housewife married to Leonce Pontellier, and her transformation throughout the story.
Antagonist: Adèle Ratignolle
-Although a close friend of Edna, she contrasts everything that Edna is becoming. Adèle is the ideal housewife who centers her life around her husband and children. She does everything a woman is supposed to do in the society of her time.
Leonce Pontellier- the husband of Edna; a wealthy businessman
Madame Lebrun- the owner of the cottages at Grand Isle
Robert Lebrun- Edna's true love; the son of Madame Lebrun
Mademoiselle Reisz- a single musician and friend of Edna, she is a great influence during Edna's "awakening"
Alcee Arobin- Edna's lover while her husband was away; Alcee only fulfills her physical desires The Importance of Expression
"She produced the roll of sketches and started to unfold them. ‘I believe I ought to work again. I feel as if I wanted to be doing something.’”
"The very first chords which Mademoiselle Reisz struck upon the piano sent a keen tremor down Mrs. Pontellier's spinal column. It was not the first time she had heard an artist at the piano. Perhaps it was the first time she was ready... She trembled, she was choking, and tears blinded her”
"She handled her brushes with a certain ease and freedom which came...from a natural aptitude" Societal Limits Imposed Upon Women
"The mother-women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle...They were women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels"
"’You are burnt beyond recognition,' he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage".
"He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother's place to look after children, whose on earth was it?" Emotional/ Psychological Repression
"An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish".
"But among the conflicting sensations which assailed her, there was neither shame nor remorse. There was a dull pang of regret because it was not the kiss of love which had inflamed her, because it was not love which had held this cup of life to her lips" Self-Discovery/ Growth
"She could have shouted for joy. She did shout for joy, as with a sweeping stroke or two she lifted her body to the surface of the water...A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before". "The tears came so fat to Mrs. Pontellier's eyes that the damp sleeve of her peignoir no longer served to dry them".
"She felt moved to read the book in secret and solitude- to hide it from view at the sound of approaching footsteps"
"In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her" "A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength, She wanted to swim far out where no woman had swum before"
"Edna began to feel like one who awakens gradually out of a dream, a delicious, grotesque, impossible dream, to feel again the realities pressing into her soul" “’You are purposely misunderstanding me, ma reine. Are you in love with Robert?’ ‘Yes,’ said Edna.
It was the first time she had admitted it, and a glow overspread her face, blotching it with red spots”
"Every step which she took toward relieving herself from obligations added to her strength and expansion as an individual. She began to look with her own eyes; to see and to apprehend the deeper undercurrents of life. No longer was she content to 'feed upon opinion' when her own soul had invited her" Literary Elements Edna Pontellier In the opening of the novel Edna Pontellier is a conventional woman who is aware of her housewife responsibilities and controlled by propriety.
Edna's summer at Grand Isle awakens new feelings and interests within her, prompting her to explore the boundaries society forbids her to overstep.
By the end of The Awakening, Edna sheds protocol and accepts her new self. She embraces independence, expression, and love to such a degree that she fails to recognize the reluctance in others to do the same. The Journey of Edna's Awakening The Awakening relates the story of Edna Pontellier and the changes she undergoes as the result of unexpected romance.
In the beginning, Edna is married to Leonce Pontellier, Though their love is mutual the marriage lacks passion and romance. Edna discovers these missing elements in her relationship with Robert Lebrun. Although initially just friends the two develop undeniable feelings for one another as the novel progresses. The freedom and excitement of the affair prompt Edna to exchange domesticity for a life of art, music, and independence.
However Edna does not fully understand the implications involved with going against social norms. By the time she realizes what it means to be herself it is too late. Similes- "The conditions of her life were in no way changed, but her whole existence was dulled, like a faded garment which seems to be no longer worth wearing" (61)
Metaphors- "It was the first kiss of her life to which her nature had really responded. It was a flaming torch that kindled desire." (kiss with Alcee)
Personification- "The music filled the room. It floated out upon the night...losing itself in the silence of the upper air (86)
Imagery- Much imagery is associate with the water.
"She could hear again the ripple of the water, the flapping sail. She could see the glint of the moon...could feel the soft, gusty beating of the hot south wind" (76)
Irony- Edna's "awakening" led to her death; water is often a symbol of life and purity but by the end of the novel it has become the way that Edna chooses to die (water may have a dual meaning for both death and rebirth)
"The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace". This quote is ironic in that it makes the sea sound inviting and appealing when really it is emphasizing its danger. It also uses Personification.
Character FOILS- Mademoiselle Reisz vs. Edna
Adele vs. Edna
Motifs - houses, sleep, birds
Local Color- many French phrases are used (setting Creole New Orleans in the French Quarter), the author goes to great lengths to recreate the region. Beginning Middle Ending Catherine O'Flaherty was born in St. Louis, Missouri on February 8, 1850. She attended Catholic school and grew up surrounded by independent women.
By the time she was 28, she was married with six children. After the death of her husband, she had an affair with a married man. Key Themes Kate Chopin Characters Introduction (cont.) Narrator: Anonymous, thought to possibly be Kate Chopin, throughout the novel it is evident that the narrator supports Edna
Point of View: third person, omniscient
Tone: mainly objective and serious; however, occasionally sympathetic towards Edna Historical Context "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin was published in 1899 and is set in 19th century Southern Louisiana.
It is one of the first novels to focus on women's issues --> FEMINISM
The book was censored at the time because of the expression of women's sexual desires.
Realism- depicted events and people as common, what would be like real-life
Chopin describes the local color of Louisiana throughout the novel. The culture is that of the Creoles (those born in Louisiana of French descent.) There were many expectations of women who married into this lifestyle. "Then in God's name paint! but don't let the family go to the devil. There's Madame Rattignolle; because she keeps up her music, she doesn't let everything else go to chaos." - Leonce "The thought was passing vaguely through her mind, 'What would he think?' She did not mean her husband; she was thinking of Robert Lebrun. Her husband seemed to her now like a person whom she had married without love as an excuse." "'I will take some brandy,' said Edna, shivering as she removed her gloves and overshoes. She drank the liquor from the glass as a man would have done... she said, 'Mademoiselle, I am going to move away from my house on Esplanade Street.'" "'I love you," she whispered, 'only you; no one but you. It was you who awoke me last summer out of a life-long, stupid dream.'" "The years that are gone seem like dreams- if one might go on sleeping and dreaming- but to wake up and find- oh! well! perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one's life." - Edna "I love you. Good-by - because I love you." - Robert's note