The Process of Edna Pontellier's Awakening
The society of Grand Isle places many expectations on its women to belong to men and be subordinate to their children. Edna Pontellier's society, therefore, abounds with "mother-women," who "idolized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it to a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals" (689). The characters of Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz represent what society views as the suitable and unsuitable women figures. Mademoiselle Ratignolle is
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comment profoundly on the identity problems that women face, "She thought of Leonce and the children. They were a part of her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul"(685). Unable to have a full human existence, Edna chooses to have none at all.
Chopin, Kate. "The Awakening". American Literature Volume II: Realism to the Present, 6th edition. Ed. George McMichael. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, 1997. 683-775.