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Slaves to Public Perception

  • Date Submitted: 10/13/2010 05:24 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 62.2 
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Will Compton
10-10-09
English P.2
Mr. Brown

Slaves to Public Perception

 

     The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a riveting tale following the lives of several Creole individuals living in New Orleans. It focuses on the deception created by a woman, Edna, and the individuals that surround her. Throughout the story, all of the individuals except for Edna are slaves to the perception of the public.

     Léonce is the epitome of this ideology. If you pay attention to his actions throughout the book, they are dictated by his outward appearance to his clientele and neighbors. He had sent a large bundle of bonbons and peanuts back to his family when he was away just for this purpose. When Léonce came home one day, he saw his wife fast in bed. He told Edna, his wife, that one of their children was suffering from a fever, and then proceeded to smoke a cigar. Edna went to check on the child, who unsurprisingly showed no symptoms of any sort of fever. Upon arriving back into the bedroom, Edna saw Léonce now fast asleep in the bed. Edna, frustrated, stayed up for the rest of the night. In Edna's mind, Léonce does nothing for the children aside from provide materialistic items in an attempt to keep up public appearance.

     Robert is one of the individuals in the book that Edna had a deceitful relationship with. Robert is a sly, conniving person who manages to fake an outward appearance that appeases everyone in the book. He has been having an affair with Edna throughout the book, all while Edna was married and in a relationship with Léonce. Robert also apparently also flirted with many other people, never going anywhere with the relationships. However, his flirting with Edna did go somewhere. While "dating" Edna, Robert is able to appear as simply a friend to her, throwing off everyone close to him and  Edna to his relationship. He spends time teaching her how to swim, and spent hours with Edna alone on the beach – “Robert had pursued a system of lessons...

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