1. What features make The Awakening a “local color” story? The features that make The Awakening a “local color” story are Story points like how Edna comes in contact with creole women and how their societies differ from her own from the language, their status, and the way they express themselves, basically their community’s culture. 2. What customs and beliefs of Edna Pontellier’s society are significant in relation to her psychological development? Edna lives in a Victorian society where women are more than expected to conform to the ways of society allowing just enough independence to eradicate a sense of boredom in their repetitive daily routines of caring for their children and husband but little of themselves, however Edna holds thoughts of a romantic world deep in her heart and the meeting of the creole women like Mademoiselle Reisz, the model of what she could be, and Adèle Ratignolle, the model of the life in which she refuses to accept. Both of which propel her to change and accept her own independence.
3. What attitudes and tendencies in the Creole characters does Edna have trouble adjusting to? Edna struggled with adjusting to the creole women frankness about sex, and their desires. Initially shocking her with their ability to express themselves, Edna soon learns that their life style is the one she craves to pursue. 4. Why did Edna marry Leonce? Is he the model husband?
Edna married Leonce because he was the ideal husband, hardworking could support a family, attractive and cared for his children and wife. However that’s where it stopped Leonce cared for his children and wife, loved his children but didn’t love Edna to the extent of letting her express herself rather he wanted her to conform t the life style she hated, the Victorian domestic wife. So in comparison to our society today he would not be a model husband our culture today describes marriage out of unconditional love rather than necessity. 5. What incidents in the novel reveal that he may not be a good husband for Edna? Leonce, on multiple occasions Leonce denies her claims of independence simply rejecting her ideas of herself expression ultimately creating a gap between Edna and himself a gap which would be filled by Robert.
6. How do Mlle. Reisz and Mme. Ratignolle function in relation to Edna and the novel’s view of women as mothers and artists? In a way Mlle. Reisz and Mme. Ratignolle are two extremes; one being what Edna could be in accepting the Victorian society’s expectations of women, and the latter being the full rejection of the Victorian expectations. 7. What kind of mother is Edna? What kind of artist is she? Originally Edna was the Victorian’s ideal wife/mother only branching to art as a way of entertainment rather than expression, however she began to branch away from the norm., or rather “expected” behavior as both a mother/wife and as an artist.
8. How are the background characters such as the young lovers and the lady in black at the shore, significant in Edna’s story? The young couple and the lady in black act as identifiers of Edna’s own struggles with her own identity and status in society. The young lovers being a representation of how she imagined her romance with Leonce to be, being described as walking as equals. A feeling Edna feels she cannot hope to feel with Leonce.. The lady in black acts as an example of how a women is expected to at an older age wearing black dreary colors acting as a foreshadow of impeding death leaving a fatalistic view over the young couple’s future.
9. In detail, explain how the flashbacks to Edna’s past function. How does her father compare to the other men in her life? Her father was very strict with her as he was a protestant catholic very defined by the “norm”, however this didn’t stop him and Edna from getting along despite her claims of romantic independence. 10. How does the view of romantic love develop in the course of the novel? What is the doctor’s view of marriage and childbearing? It seems as though throughout the novel romantic loved is morphed into becoming an act of rebellion.
The doctor notices her adoration for Robert, and her branching for independence however he also knows that even if he said anything there would be little Leonce could do to intervene without sparking a rebellion from Edna. It seems as though the doctor feels that both marriage and child bearing are not what necessarily define love, or a romantic relationship, something reinforced by Edna’s behavior. 11. Can you think of an emotional attachment and/or a romantic obsession you have studied in a previous work?
How does that incident or character compare with Edna’s emotional and romantic relationships? A very strong emotional attachment or obsession is apparent in Romeo & Juliet, it is similar to the awakening because on in both stories the main protagonist(s) are breaking the norm in order to pursue a romantics ideal life, even more so that they both end with suicide, leaves a pretty dark cloud over love triumphs type of writings. 12. What are the main images and symbols in the novel?
The main symbols and images in the novel are: the birds, the sea, the two lovers accompanied by the lady in black, as well as the adolescent twins. 13. Why does Edna get involved with Alcee Arobin?
Edna gets involved with Alcee to sate her physical desires in place of Robert, being in Mexico, and Leonce being restrained by his beliefs in society. 14. Why do you suppose critics were outraged at this novel in 1899, saying it committed “unutterable crimes against polite society” and should be labeled “poison” to protect “moral babes”? When hearing this I could only laugh as a friend of mine is very feminist and women empowered, when reading the critique’s reactions to the novels as “poison” , I came to the conclusion that they were outraged because they were either upset with Edna’s apparent likeliness to sex or her ability to easily move to other men, those critiques either saw this novel as Chopin’s way of describing the “real” woman or an over the top imagining of what every women desires, and out of jealousy of words to express simply criticized.
15. What is your reaction to the end of the novel? Do you agree or disagree with the reasons for Edna’s final action? In way I agree with her final decision, of course this does not mean I support suicide but It seems as though Edna had set herself up to never be happy in her society, and after multiple attempts to embrace this “new” culture that presented itself to her anyone she attempted to grow close to was restrained by that same society’s expectations, not willing to break the rules for her. In a way she was alone seeking a partner yet no one was reaching out as far as she was.
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