The Awakening and Women’s Suffrage

A paper which examines The Awakening by Kate Chopin and how far the feminist movement has advanced since its writing.

The paper argues that although woman’s suffrage seems that it has come a long way since Kate Chopin wrote `The Awakening` almost two centuries ago, in fact nothing has really changed for women and they are still seen as subordinate to men in society. The paper examines the character of Edna in Chopin’s book and uses her to show that in the workplace, society, politics and education, women’s subordination to men has remained despite superficial changes through the ages.
`As a matter of fact, clothing shows how men manipulate women to their entertainment. Shorts, plunging necklines, tights, bikinis are all viewing delights to the male libido. Women may feel wanted when men express admiration, but that is all it is: a using. Women are a utility in and outside of the home and what is deplorable is that it even serves a deep need in women for adulation, not knowing that the adulation is skin-deep and passing. That is why clothing induces much frustration in women and they also refuse to confront this reality of subservience.
Edna Pontellier feels this kind of bondage in her clothes too and so she removes them as a sign of her breaking out of woman’s bondage to clothes. She makes no excuses for what she really is, hidden behind thick and ornamented garments, and pursues her heart’s desire.`
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