An analysis of Edna Pontellier’s character in The Awakening.
This paper examines the character of Edna Pontellier as portrayed in the book The Awakening. The author discusses several aspects of her personality such as lack of maternal instincts, need for independence and love.
Edna Pontellier has been labeled a woman without her senses one who values romantic notions over common sense. Who with all her senses about her could scorn a solid renowned man, a financier with means to yearn for some young buck that seeks to find his fortune in a far off and distant land? However, I am of an opinion that Edna was indeed a feminist for her day. She was a role model for women who would read about her and learn about her courage, yes courage, for years to come. It is true that today Edna is uplifted instead of scorned. She is emulated instead of being called the senseless sort. Edna knew from the start that she was not like other women. She did not have that deep maternal instinct that would make a woman willingly give her soul for her children. She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them. (Chopin 198). Although Edna loved her children, she was notably relieved when they were gone. Sure, although Edna could not even admit it to herself, when her children were away she was she was relieved of a responsibility for which she was ill suited. Yes, Edna was quite the opposite of her friend, Adelle Ratignolle, the perfect matron, who was persuaded to leave her children behind as she frolicked on the beach but would not dare put aside her knitting.
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