Extramarital affairs in the Awakening

Categories: The Awakening


Based on religion beliefs and the institution of marriage, Edna was supposed to carry her “duties as a wife”, which was to take care of the children, and be submissive to her husband (Chopin 108). Yet, obviously, this suppression in society caused Edna the ultimate depression. Her crying with no reason was one piece of evidence of her depression. “She could not have told why she was crying. Such experiences as the foregoing were not uncommon in her married life” (Chopin 49).

Clearly, crying acts as a break out for stress or any unhappy emotion. We may not literally see our depression, but it is solid underneath our souls.

Suppression has stayed deep inside us for long, which became the cause of depression, as Edna and Francesca experienced it in their marriages. A language of depression on marriage presented as Francesca stated, “when a woman choose to marry and have children, her life begins, but in another way, it stops. ” We saw her sadness because her life got struck when it supposed to begin with a new chapter.

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The suppression, which she experienced in her marriage life, had brought her a dreadful depression, a depression that was closed to a spiritual death.

Without a doubt, only death could stop a life from moving on. Moreover, she was depressed of playing the role of a “dull housewife” when she admitted that she “could not wait for” her husband and children to be away for their four-day trip. From this example, we could see that she desired a brief relief from her family life since she was tired of her role as a housewife and a mother.

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These evidences suggest that our social and religion systems suppress the female gender. Women have depression in marriage because of the entrapment by the family values system and marriage code.

Consequently, getting involved in extramarital affairs may work as an escape from the suppression by marriage in religion and society. Extramarital affair usually helps awakening women from their depression and suppression by religion and society. Yet, women started to seek for liberation. For instance, Robert awakened Francesca’s soul when he said, “Don’t kid yourself. You’re anything but a simple woman. ” Her eyes got lighted up, as did her soul. It was the first enlightening for Francesca because Robert saw the real her. Her soul was regained from the “dull” lifestyle of a housewife.

Then, later that night, when Francesca was by herself, she unwrapped her bathrobe that she wore in order to feel the blow of the free wind. Being naked or partially naked is a symbol of a self-liberation. Francesca even took off her robe, and started examining her nude body. This was an image for her self-evaluation. She finally had the time to slowly take a look on her own self, while she was not busy taking care of her family members. On the other hand, we also see the liberation of Edna. She started to wear less and less clothing in the later chapters as she “ate her breakfast only half dressed” (Chopin 162).

From this scene, she was obviously trying to release herself more and more to liberation. She demanded to be free, and she expressed it from the way she dressed. From these two examples, we know that the awakening of people from suppression and depression can enlighten them to search for self-liberation. Moreover, even though the search of self-liberation is gaining, awakening does not necessarily help the victims to be free from the suppression in society. We can easily see the evident from the decisions of the women on their extramarital affairs.

First of all, we should classify the group of “noble sacrifice”. Woman may sacrifices the relationship with her true love, and chooses to stay with her family. “Though the woman wants to go with her lover, she fears that doing so would be selfish and destructive” (Millman 171). In short, a woman is still suppressed by the society because she is entrapped to act according to the moral code of the society. Just like Francesca, she chose to stay with her family. She was struggling to leave with Robert but she ended up saying, “it still doesn’t seem like a right thing [to do]”.

Obviously, she chose to suppress her emotions and to live under the moral code of the society. She would rather give up her “once-in-a-lifetime happiness” instead of breaking the hearts of her husband and children (Millman 171). Yet, although sacrificing her “once-in-a-lifetime happiness” for her family seemed to be noble like, her choice was basically influenced by the social suppression (Millman 171). In fact, “the woman sacrifices love isn’t just being noble, she’s reacting to her internal conflicts that make her afraid of choosing passion over a safe, familiar course” (Millman 171).

Similarly, Francesca said, “I can’t make my entire life disappear to start a new one,” she revealed her unwillingness of losing her familiar, stable life. Meanwhile, woman can still be suppressed by the moral code of the society because she worries about “becoming a social outcast” and receiving “tremendous disapproval” if she stays with her lover and leaves her family behind (Millman 171). Furthermore, a mother worries that her beloved children may suffer from the divorce while they may never forgive her.

Yet, it is the moral code in our society that teaches children to hate their mother for being unfaithful to her husband. Therefore, females still choose to be suppressed by the society because they are vulnerable to take any risk other than conforming to the value system that was set by it. Unfortunately, people in society are vulnerable to the suppression because mostly, they are powerless to rebel from the system that they are living in. They are depressed since they are entrapped by the society. For such a depression in life, some inhabitants might refuse to live under the suppression.

As they were physically entrapped in the society, they had no place to turn to, but to end the entrapment both physically and mentally. Edna was definitely one of them; she committed suicide to end her depression in life. “There was no one thing in the world that she desired” (Chopin, 175). This simply represented that she felt hopeless and purposeless in her life, religion, and society. Furthermore, she refused to live under the suppression by marriage since she did not want her husband or children to “possess her, body, and soul” (Chopin 176).

Unlike Francesca, Edna declined to let her children “to drag her into the soul’s slavery for the rest of her days” (Chopin 175). Therefore, in order to break through the chain of social rules, Edna had no choice, but to become a “new-born creature” to regain her freedom from this hopeless society. She was vulnerable to be entrapped in this society, and death was the only way to regain and renew her soul from depression and suppression. In short, by gaining the control of her life, she selected her own way to escape. From her example, we have learned that the impact of suppression in our society could cause an individual to crash.

However, besides committing suicide, there are other choices to regain the power and take charge of lives in order to end the social suppression. Even though the suppression of our society caused a big impact on the people, there were people who chose not to live under it after they found their true love outside marriage. Some people decided to do anything to risk for true love. Once again, our true emotions and feelings are resistless, so we are encouraged to be true to our hearts as Mrs. Wang maintains. She was married with her first husband 20 years ago.

After 12 years of marriage, she met Dr. Wang in the hospital that she worked. They became attracted to each other and fell in love while they were working together. When she came to a point that her emotions could not be suppressed anymore, she decided to get a divorce. “It was a tough decision because we had to live through the talk in the workplace. Beside, I had to worry about my children’s reaction, but it is worthwhile”. Wang agreed with Robert’s saying in The Bridge of Madison County: “this kind of certainty comes just once in a lifetime.

” She did not want to give up her “once-in-a-lifetime happiness” for worrying others’ feelings and reactions. “Sacrifice is needed to risk for a true love, and I believe others, even my children can understand the reason for my decision. ” She maintained that we should follow our hearts and our true feelings as she said, “by sharing my experience with my children, I want them to live happy and to be true to their hearts. ” Wang has been married with Dr. Wang for almost 7 years now, and she is proud to tell me that she is grateful about her choice.

From her example, we are sure that the influence of sentiment can help people to choose the way they want to live, and reject to be suppressed by society on the issues of marriage and morality. After we carefully analyzed, we have learned more about our society by looking at the issue of extramarital affairs. While our society formulates the codes and value systems for us to live in, we are bounded to act according to its rules. As our society regulated the institution of marriage more than one hundred years ago, our moral standard was no longer based on the institution of multiple-spouses marriage.

Our society tells us that having extramarital affair is immoral and least acceptable. Yet, we are all flesh and blood, and we cannot avoid the way we feel. Nevertheless, feelings and emotions are from our nature, that’s why they do not have reason. When attraction takes place, our true emotions and feelings cannot be suppressed because they just occur naturally. Yet, the moral codes in our society suppress us to do so because they control the standard of morality. Even more, most of the times, the code of marriage in our society suppresses us, and causes us depression in marriages.

Therefore, when we are attracted to others outside our marriages, extramarital affair takes place, but everyone may have different approaches toward it. Furthermore, extramarital affair reveals the suppression that we are experiencing in our marriage lives, and it usually brings out the awakening of the individuals. The awakening often helps the individuals to gain and search for self-liberation while they are seeking an escape from suppression. However, a lot of people are entrapped to live under the suppression by the society.

They choose to sacrifice the relationships with their true love, and go back to their original life with their husbands and children. These women may be considered as noble like, but they are definitely the victims of the social suppression. They cannot bear to live as the social outcasts, so they choose to continue live under the moral code. On the other hand, there are women who tried to live their lives without letting the society to suppress them. Some of them are vulnerable that they can only end their lives in order to break through the chain of social rules.

Other fortunate ones go for what they believe in and make their chances worthwhile. Overall, by looking at the issue of extramarital affair, we have gained the acknowledgment on the impact of the suppression by our society. In short, if the social rules do not suppress the people on marriages, extramarital affairs would less likely to happen in the first place. One interesting fact is that our society is blaming the causes of extramarital affair on the immoral and devilish mind of its people, but unwilling to acknowledge the deeper root of its suppression.

We are mammals, and other mammals that live on our planet are not suppressed by any set of social moral code, but simply the way of nature.

Works Cited Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. New York: Penguin Books, 1986. 43-176. Eastwood, Clint, dir. The Bridge of Madison County. Perf. Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. 1995. DVD. Warner Bros. , 1995. Millman, Marcia. “A Stronger Closer Marriage: 7 Ways to Get There. ” Redbook 196 (2001): 146-72 Wang, T. W. Personal interview. 18 Mar. 2001.

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Extramarital affairs in the Awakening. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/extramarital-affairs-awakening-11651-new-essay

Extramarital affairs in the Awakening

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