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The pianist Mademoiselle (Miss) Reisz models the independent woman as artist, utterly unconcerned with personal appearance or public scrutiny. In a somewhat mechanical manner, various characters demonstrate or activate particular aspects of Edna’s awakening. These terms simplify complicated characteristics, fitting generalized features into neat boxes. A foil character is one basically similar to the protagonist, yet differing in certain ways that serve to illuminate the protagonist more brightly or clearly (as in a tin-foil reflection). Edna’s new, maverick way of life aside, she feels an outsider in both her Grand Isle and New Orleans communities because she is a Protestant rather than a Catholic Creole like her husband and acquaintances.
Try it risk-free In this lesson, we will learn about Kate Chopin, a Southern regionalist writer.
First, we will consider how her life created a framework for stories that reflect early feminist values in a very traditional world, then we will look at her two most famous works, 'The Story of an Hour' and 'The Awakening.' Kate Chopin, born in 1850 as Kate O'Flaherty, was a writer whose keen skills of observation led to an impressive ability to translate life into perceptive stories. Louis, Missouri during the Civil War and moving later as an adult to Louisiana, Chopin found that her own experiences as a self-reliant woman in the South made the best fodder for her work.
Marriage and motherhood constitute unsupportable restrictions for Edna. Edna wades out into the sea where she experienced her first sensual awakening and, later, her powerful achievement of learning to swim.
Léonce, her well-respected, businessman husband, clearly objectifies Edna when she returns from a sunny beach day: “You are burnt beyond recognition,” [Léonce] added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property. Birth and death converge as she immerses herself in water, the feminine element, par excellence.
The novel does not put forth a woman who can be both an artist and a mother.
She encourages Edna to sketch, to cultivate her own creativity.As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 79,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed. The dilemma of how to mother her children appropriately, with the risk of subjecting them to the public shame she brings upon herself, seems to be the decisive factor. This question constitutes a major theme of the novel. She rejects outright the possibility of marriage, saying, “I am no longer one of Mr. In contrast, she loves Robert and finds great comfort in him. Simultaneously, she witnesses the growth of her own spiritual life: “There was with her a feeling of having descended in the social scale, with a corresponding sense of having risen in the spiritual.” None of these minor outrages, even the collapse of her marriage, were Léonce to let her go, would necessarily have precipitated her suicide. How does she fit traditional gender roles for women, and how does she branch away from such expectations? He seems to love her generously, yet his desires are tinged with a possessiveness Edna cannot abide. If he were here to say, ‘Here, Robert, take her and be happy; she is yours,’ I should laugh at you both.”At this point, Edna has been sexually involved with Alcee Arobin, the town Casanova, who “detected her latent sensuality” and with whom she has a purely carnal, adulterous relationship. Chopin was the daughter of an Irish immigrant father and French mother and spent most of her childhood attending a Catholic boarding school in St. The third of five children, she excelled in school, received awards and even delivered her commencement address at her high school graduation.Sadly, Chopin learned of loss early on when her father died in a train accident, and her half-brother passed away in the war.We're sorry, this computer has been flagged for suspicious activity.If you are a member, we ask that you confirm your identity by entering in your email.Using vivid description, her works capture the local habits, language and characters that make the area unique and real.Interestingly enough, some would say that Chopin's is not what made the biggest impact on the 19th century literary world.