Words of Wisdom:

"the man who follows the crowd, gets no further than the crowd, the man who walks alone, finds himself places no man has ever known" stephen graham" - Whytee

The Awakening Kate Chopin

  • Date Submitted: 07/13/2011 11:50 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 46.6 
  • Words: 641
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--In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier develops into a very distant and aloof character.   She spends phases of her life with different people, from Robert to Adele, to Reisz. But I, as a reader, personally found Mademoiselle Reisz more of a confidante than any of the rest. Mademoiselle Reisz is an unconventional and unpopular, but talented artist.   She functions in this novel in at least three different ways: by being the friend Edna comes to when she feels unhappy, acting as a foil to Adele Ratingolle - in aid to characterize Edna's desires, and connecting with and emphasizing Edna's need for a feministic independence.

--Edna Pontellier is pulled toward Mademoiselle Reisz by a certain virtue the artist woman has, a virtue unknown to the reader, but nonetheless compelling.   One general day, Chopin remarks of Edna, "There were days when she was unhappy, she did not know why,—when it did not seem worth while to be glad or sorry, to be alive or dead... IT WAS DURING SUCH A MOOD that Edna hunted up Mademoiselle Reisz" (Chopin, 63). Here, Edna clearly feels a sudden feeling of emptiness, or otherwise inexplicable mood, and she deals with this by seeking out Mademoiselle Reisz. Whatever her charm, some comforting atmosphere she has, Mademoiselle Reisz undeniably compels Edna to wish to be around her. In this description, Mademoiselle Reisz functions as the main character's friend, a confidant (referencing the English term). Chopin, however, has more than just this purpose for Reisz; Reisz also acts as a foil to Adele Ratingolle, the epitome of nineteenth-century womanhood.

--Adele Ratingolle is the perfect, ideal housewife and mother, polar to the womanhood Reisz lives out. Because Edna is a confused character seeking enlightenment, Chopin sets up this contrast in order to provide Edna the characters with which to compare herself to. Although Edna admires Adele for her charm and grace, she can not help but feel a sense of purposelessness for Adele....

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