The Awakening: Personal Response

For me the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin was exhausting and boring to read. I likewise think Edna is exceptionally childish and selfish. That’s what I thought at first, however as I read and began understanding her intentions, I have an alternate idea on the book. She is trying to find herself, it is about self-revelation and recognition. Although some of her actions still show selfishness and narrow mindedness, I understand her motives behind everything. 

In the context of the 19th century, women’s first priority should be to take care of their children. On the other hand, Edna is described as not a “mother”. When exchanging views on the mother’s debt to the child, Edna declared that her personality is more important than her mother. I will pay my money, I will give my life for my children, but I will not give myself” (page 57). Edna’s adolescence prompted her to fight for self-discovery, which resulted in She neglected responsibilities such as childbirth. Edna is not a conscientious mother. I can’t accept this ending. Although some people say that her children can be taken care of by their grandma and Léonce, if I am the child, I would rather see my parents divorce, to be more accurate ‘not in love anymore’ rather than hearing about my mother’s death. Edna loves her children and she still cares about them. “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” (p. 21).

Approaching the end of the novel, Edna shares her final thought about Robert before she commits suicide, “he did not know; he did not understand. He would never understand” (p. 116). Instead of contemplating how she would break her dearest companion’s heart with her final act, she only reflects on how he had never understood her. Edna deserts everyone who had cared for her and who she had relied upon, without much consideration. 

Edna’s actions can be justified with the social standards today. However, She did them all in aiming to fill the void in her miserable life, where she had no control over anything without the approval of a man. Edna sees more to her life, potentials and dreams, although she never had the chance to proceed as she could not handle the consequences it came with. As a mother and as a lover, Edna is selfish. As an individual, her choice of putting herself first in any circumstances and to control her own destiny, makes her almost admirable.


3 thoughts on “The Awakening: Personal Response”

  1. Hi Lydia!! I thought your perspective was really interesting, however I disagree with Edna being selfish. And if she is, I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. We should all learn how to value ourselves, even if that’s considered selfish. Good job!!

  2. I enjoyed reading your post and found your perspective on Edna very interesting. At one point, you mentioned “if I am the child, I would rather see my parents divorce.” I think this is a very valid point. However, during the time in which the novel takes place, divorce was not nearly as common or acceptable as it is now. In fact, it was considered a horrible sin by many. The children would’ve likely been judged and ridiculed harshly and for having such a sinful mother. I think this context is important to understand.

  3. Hey Lydia, I love how honest you started your personal response. I can see that you began to gain perspective as we continued to read the book. Your point from how you would have acted as child of Edna gave appropriate context and I enjoyed that.

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