For me, “The Awakening” is one of the rare books that can make my attitude and thought toward the main character – Edna change a lot due to the plot of this novel. The whole novel, to me, is the process of building up the character Edna. Every detail of it contributes a piece of Edna, so that after the book, I can stop, and let myself calm down, think thoroughly about Edna. Edna at the beginning is an Edna somehow sweet and elegant. One Edna that is shy, like a fish out of water among the conversations of French mix with Americans culture, one Edna that is cheerful and energetic swimming in water. I thought that she may not be a good mother when she does not take a good care of her children, but she is acceptable. Because no one is perfect, even Mr. Pontellier forgot to bring bonbon back when he is a figure for a good man. However, the piece of panicking Edna when Robert leaves brings me a mixed feeling, somehow angry when she is not loyal to her marriage, to her family, somehow sympathetic with the feeling of missing the beloved one. At that time, I hope that Edna will get out of her depression soon, be back with the life she was belong to. To me, it is understandable to have a crush on someone other than the partner, but it is important to get over it, to be faithful to the relationship, to family; because family is not only love, family is responsible, is gratitude. Opposite with what I hope, Edna immerses in her “freedom”. Each of her actions disappoints me more and more. From when she replies to Arobin based on her instinct, to when she moves out of the big house, where has the memories of her family. This character raises a question in me, why don’t she think what is enough. A family with a husband who takes care her with all his ability, two children who loves their mom, a life with servants, no worry about money, is not enough? Because it does not bring to her heart the touch of love? So that, why she still accepts Arobin for her instincts? Because Robert is love, and Arobin is a “flaming torch”, and they are different? At that point, I understand why Edna does that, but there is no more sympathy for her, her actions are not acceptable to me. After all, Edna at the ending brings to me a different sense. I feel more sympathetic with her, because she chooses to sacrifice her life for the honor of her children, of Mr Pontellier. The quote when she said she can give the children her life but not herself becomes foreshadowing. Edna wants to be selfish the last time in her life, even though the price of it is her life.
When reading this book i didn’t get anything out of it, it did not make me engaged at all or have any connection with the characters. Throughout the book I was just bored and reading it for reading it i think the reason was because there was never anything exiting going on in the book except for the ending were she killed her self and even that she didn’t go out in a blaze of glory or anything spectacular she just swam till she gave up and slowly sank to the bottom of the sea. I also did not like the husband there wasn’t very much to him he was there then left for a bisnes trip nothing else. The last thing that annoyed me was I thought she was very whinny I understand that she was unhappy but I think there was better ways of portraying that then being whinny and moody. In short I think there is much better and more interesting story’s to read this one was not my favorite by far and im happy to move on .
The Awakening gives me a thought of chasing what a person really wants but not what the person is given. Edna has a husband that gives her basically everything that most of the women couldn’t get in the period of time. For example, wealth, a good house to live, good food every day, a life without any concerns about the environment she is living in. However, Mr. Pontellier was working so hard for his wife and children, therefore he did not have much time to spend with his family, he always had to work in other places. but he still sends packages to Edna. But she chose Robert, which he is just a normal man that is not as wealthy as Mr. Pontellier. Then she found out she had a crush on him. Edna rather chose what she wants rather than what she is given. She felt she is missing something important that she couldn’t get from Mr. Pontellier. On one side, I felt pity for her not to enjoy and appreciate what she had from her husband. But on the other hand, I respect her of following her heart of what she wants. She had the courage to step up to her true desire. However, the story ended in with a sad ending, Edna got rejected by Robert for leaving with her and she chose to commit suicide by swimming really far in the ocean. But Itrue respect her action of following her heart.
Edna is a special woman. Her characteristic doomed her extraordinary. She has very new and created thinking which is not fit with that period. However, her special lead her marriage to the end. She is very unhappy in this marriage. Her unhappy is from the difference thinking between her husband and herself. Contrast with her husband, Edna has an avant-garde thinking. When Edna has no interest to his talking, and not believe the son has fever. “He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother place to look after children, whose on earth was it”(pg 6). His husband thinks the wife need to obey the family and take care about the home. He is not satisfied on Edna’s action. He is a husband with machismo. He cares his financial more than his wife. Which shows through when he knows Edna wants to move out house, financial integrity. And He is a rational men. He solve the problem in the fastest time. He write a letter to an architect to remodeling his home. The action is for prevent people’s guessing and gossip, and avoid his lose. Edna is a very different women. She can not obey his husband, and can not understand his thinking. After his husband complain about her deficient, “An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish”(pg 7). She is a sensual woman, she has very strong emotion on everything. Combine her sensibility with Mr. Pontellier previous action, he cares financial more than Edna. It reflects Edna has not receive the enough love. It causes she disappoint at this marriage. She is very sad about his complain. The sadness imply Edna disagree with Mr. Pontellier concept of marriage. She wants to in-depend. She wants to be free. So, she move out the house and not use Mr.Pontellier’s money. She does not want the marriage become the chain to block her free. She is not sacrifice herself to family and children. She loves herself. So her attitude for marriage and for herself is very different with other people. It is like the new are woman. Unfortunately, she lives in the old time. Her difference brings her sad ending.
To be honest, I do not have a certain feeling on what Edna had done, it is not like or dislike. Although when I first read “the awaken,” I was shocked and didn’t understand Edna, she had the comfortable living condition and a “best husband in the world”(6). However, Edna fell in love with another man. It is so hard for me to realize what kind of love is so strong that can even let her leave her children. When I I read the second half of “the awakening,” I thought she was a pitiful woman. The only thing Edna wanted and eventually lost all was the love of Robert and freedom; she almost gave up everything to chase her purpose, she left her children and husband and her luxury life. However, she also got the cruellest revenge as her disloyalty to her husband, Robert refused to run away with her. That was the last straw which caused her suicide. Edna was not like other women during that time, when I thought she would never let anyone control all of her life no matter her husband or her children, she committed suicide because she was unique and not understood. She was a contradictory woman.
But I still admire some of her abilities. It was evident that Edna is an independent woman with her own opinions and decisions. While she decided to live outside, everything was ready, the location was already chosen, the servant was prepared, and she even held a party as her last dinner in her old house, all the work had been done had reached its aim. Edna would never be those women who relied on their husband; she could live very well by herself.
Personally, I was hoping that this story had a happy ending. However, this story was like a tragedy. Because, in my opinion, if a story ends with death and no hope, the story is a tragedy. Some people might think this story is not a tragedy like what I heard from our class discussion. But, I could not see any hope at the end of this story. “The Kite runner” is a good example to explain my opinion. “The kite runner” included much death and seemed so violence. But there was hope at the end. I could see the hope from characters’ actions and words. Of course, I can understand other opinions too such as her death was suicide so it is not a tragedy like murder and it gave mistrial and literary atmosphere to audiences. But I have never thought that death was beautiful. Because if a person dies, everything is ended at the point. There is no more sound. There is no more color. There is no more hope… There is nothing. Some literature describes the beauty of death and tries to make a specific atmosphere with the silence of death. But I do not feel any literary significance from there. Therefore, I was not moved to a good way such as getting useful ideas for my life from this story. But I could know what gives the biggest impression on me and what types of idea I want from literature.
The《Awakening》gave me the deepest feeling that life is not easy, and people should cherish their lives. And another thoughts is to follow your heart no matter what you do. In this novel, I first felt just bored, because it was not as appealing as science fiction. However, as I read more and more, I found that every article and principle of this novel is expressed beautifully, in short and concise sentences. In addition, the novel also made me think about my life.
First of all, the heroine Edna moved me profoundly when she did not yield to the traditional society that restrained her and was truly loyal to her feelings and soul. Second, for Edna, the existence of Robert is very important, because he is the one who awakens her soul, but also makes her realize the “social bondage” and “cruel reality” he escapes at the last moment, choosing to be bound by traditional social values. Though Robert was always a man of public opinion, his presence was important, for without him there would have been no awakening for Edna. I sympathize with Edna because she never got the love she wanted, and at the same time, she was plagued with mundane matters and unable to pursue her own pleasure.
The story begins at Grade Isle, a vacation spot of wealthy Creoles from New Orleans. Edna is there with her two sons and her husband Leonce who comes and goes because of business. Edna has never felt like she fits in with their lifestyle. Edna has always done what is expected of a woman of her time, including marrying a man she did not love. He regards her as a possession rather than an individual. While on vacation, Edna falls in love with Robert Lebrun. She often went to the beach with him. She began to realize for the first time, at age 28, that she is so distressed that she returns to Grand Isle where she goes swimming in the cold sea. Purposely she swims out too far and drowns herself. Edna broke away from worldly annoyances and went to embrace the sea. What a resolution to leave her husband she didn’t love, and leave the covertly lover, and also leave her children. The demands of the secular society, the duty of being a wife and mother were all abandoned by the soul searching for herself. Life and love are precious but they can be discarded for the sake of freedom.
Contemporary society does not have the male and female inferiority thinking, but the old society had been completely different. The language used in the novel usually includes French and some slang, which helps the reader to experience the circumstances. In my mind, there is a confused married woman who is full of desire for life, but her soul is always bound by the trivialities of her life. After awakening, she chose to give up life and the sea became her destination.
Edna’s life actually mirrors our lives, but everyone will have different choices in their own lives. Each of us will experience setbacks and perhaps our lives will be shattered in the future, but please find the goodness, kindness and respect in the world and give thanks for life.
In “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin I found the main characters very interesting. They have very unique personalities and motivations that make them to make different decisions and have different feelings. I did not like the character Edna because I think she acted selfish by having affairs with other men and not looking after her children good enough. But I also felt pity for Edna because she wanted freedom from being trapped in unhappy marriage to an older man who did not love her and who she did not love either. Her husband just wants to her earn money and have a good reputation, that’s why he tries to stop her moving out of the house. He is too dominant in their marriage and she feels trapped so I felt sorry for her. Edna is a sympathetic character to me, because life was very unfair to her. I also think that Edna still showed she cares about her husband’s reputation because she drowned in the sea but she did it in a way that people won’t know that she killed herself on purpose.
Mr. Pontellier is a professional and he earns money to feed his family, so he looks good from the outside to society, but to me he actually is a chauvinist who does not treat his wife with love. This made me dislike the character of Mr. Pontellier. He looks like a perfect husband but he does not care enough about his wife and kids and so it increases her unhappiness so that she wants to be free. Edna puts all of her hope in Robert, but in the end even he decides not to marry her because of the social pressure and the bad judgment they would get in society. This was sad and it shows how women in that time period had their future depending on a man instead of independence.
I also found the character Mrs. Ratignolle interesting also. She is a very nice awesome woman, but she is limited by that period of time and her husband’s dominance. She is a typical woman of that time period that means her main job is to have children and look after her husband. I think that makes me feel some pity, because she loses her own distinct personality by only having a job serving others. She is pregnant with her fourth child in the story and that seems like a lot of children to me for one woman because in China women usually only have one or maybe two children. I think Mrs. Ratignolle is a same type of character similar to Edna but Edna gets more depressed than Mrs. Ratignolle.
Taking all of the above elements into consideration, I found the characters in “The Awakening” interesting and sometimes confusing with their motivations, but the story gave me a sad feeling in the end. I feel like this story is fighting for women’s rights to show the voice and feelings about women that were ignored in history. The author is trying to show Edna as an inspiration to fight for their own rights and even though the ending is sad, Edna is supposed to be an example of how unhappy things can be if women are treated bad. My personal response to this story was that I wished the characters could have been happier and not so much trapped by society and expectation, but I was also a bit upset about how the character Edna was so much thinking of herself even though I understand why the author Kate Chopin was making the example out of her about women having rights.