The Awakening

yents.pavri
Mind Map by yents.pavri, updated more than 1 year ago
yents.pavri
Created by yents.pavri about 5 years ago
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Mind Map on The Awakening, created by yents.pavri on 11/29/2014.

Resource summary

The Awakening
1 Fantasy of how life could (Imagination)
1.1 Kate Chopin’s The Awakening should be seen as depicting the discontentment that comes from self-gratification rather than the glorification of delighting in one’s fantasies. Chopin describes the central idea of one who is seeking to please her personal needs and desires and, in the process, neglects to notice how her actions affect others.
2 Rejecting the social constraints
2.1 Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, tells the story of a late nineteenth century woman trying to break away from the male-dominated society to find an identity of her own.  Edna Pontellier is trying to find herself when only two personas are available to her: the ‘true woman,’ the classic wife and mother, or the ‘new woman,’ the radical women demanding equality with men.
2.2 Lacked patriarchal authority that dominated in the 19th Century
3 Physical and emotional journey
3.1 Edna’s discovery concerns her coming to understand how society dictates how a woman must behave within a framework of particular expectations- that of a wife and mother.
4 Sacrifices made
4.1 In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Edna Pontellier’s suicide is an assertion of her independence and contributes to Chopin’s message that to be independent one must choose between personal desires and societal expectations.
5 Living in the moment-
5.1 This sense of “recklessness” foreshadows the end of the novella. Her “daring and reckless” behaviour, her overestimation of strength, and the desire to “swim far out where no woman had swum before” all suggest the tragic conclusion that awaits Edna.
6 Impact
6.1 In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Edna Pontellier’s suicide is an assertion of her independence and contributes to Chopin’s message that to be independent one must choose between personal desires and societal expectations.
6.1.1 The sad irony of Edna’s awakening is her desires are not compatible with the society in which she lives. Indeed her awareness ultimately leads to social isolation.
7 Assessing their own society
7.1 Edna has never reflected on, or indeed questioned how these expectations had shaped and stunned her own life. Edna’s self awakening or discovery unfolds gradually as she comes to the realisation that she can challenge and eventually repudiate the restrictions she has always accepted.
8 Context
8.1 To appreciate and understand both the magnitude and ramifications of Edna’s decisions to leave her husband and children and establish herself in an independent household considerations of the contextual aspects of the time in which the novella is set is important.
8.1.1 Instead of condemning her protagonist, Chopin maintains a neutral, non-judgmental tone throughout and appears to even condone her character's unconventional actions.
8.2 Louisiana Law, a woman was still considered the property of her husband
8.2.1 The extended use of religious terms here signifies that the women are less important than their chidden and husbands. Terms such as idolise and worship indicate that their families are like gods to be adored. Women are to adore their husbands as angels which requires the total supplication/sacrifice of themselves as individuals. The fulfilling of this role was considered a ‘holy privledge'
9 Message behind the story
9.1 Instead of condemning her protagonist, Chopin maintains a neutral, non-judgmental tone throughout and appears to even condone her character's unconventional actions.
10 Characters impacting their decisions
10.1 Essentially Madame Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz are polar opposites and symbolise the life Edna has on the one hand (Madame Ratignolle- who embodies the propriety of the time) and a life she at first dreams of and then later tries to achieve (Mademoiselle Reisz). Both have a profound impact on Edna but it is Madame Ratignolle who recognises that Edna is flouting the rules by which society engages and tired to warn Edna that her behaviour will have consequences. She offers her advice and seeks to preserve Edna’s reputation.
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