Edna Pontellier, the lead character in the story is a married woman with two children. The story begins with Edna as a mother and a wife to a successful businessperson Leonce Ponttellier who lives a happy life oblivious of his wife’s misery. Edna is not happy with several issues in her life key among which is her marriage. She readily starts an affair with other men and does not show concern to her children. The plot of the story therefore follows her emotional development to the end of the story when she eventually commits suicide. Despite her marital status, the story opens with a naive Edna following her husband to Grand Isle for a vacation despite her lack of happiness and contentment in the marriage.
Edna’s development in the marriage begins while she is on the vacation. Edna spends most of her time with a friend, Adèle Ratignolle. Adele is becomes an essential figure in Edna’ss life as they spend most of their time together advising each other. Adele for example reminds Edna of her marital roles both as a wife and as a mother. She had observed that Edna was increasingly becoming distant and withdrawn from her family (Ellis 33). She therefore advises Edna to spend more time with her family and commit to her husband. However, Edna is not a happy woman and therefore sets out in search of happiness. She meets Robert while on the same vacation and the two begins an affair. She expresses her feelings for Robert a feature that depicts her opening up for the first time in the story. She openly expresses her love and affection for Robert who is noncommittal owing to Edna’s marital status.
Robert leaves for Mexico thus eluding Edna who he considers untouchable owing to her marital status. After their vacation when the two return to New Orleans, Edna focuses more on her happiness. She focuses more on the issues that would make her happy including withdrawing from the fundamental roles of both motherhood and a wife in the society. This is an important part in Edna’s life as she seeks to establish her identity (Waugh 31). Her husband travels to New York on business and sends their children to their grandparents thereby leaving Edna all alone. The solitude gives her enough time to determine her identity and the features that would make her happy. In her state of solitude, she meets Alcee Arobin and for the first time she gets intimate. Her ability to forget all her sorrows and past relationship and become intimate with Arobin epitomizes her development and ability to seek her own happiness.
When she commits suicide at the end of the short story owing to the rejection she receives from Robert portrays her inability to develop to maturity. While still dallying with Arobin, Robert reaches out to her and confesses hiss affection to her thereby rekindling her feelings to him. She therefore becomes heart broken when Robert leaves again and hints that he left for good. The breakup drives her to commit suicide thereby portraying her inability to gain emotional maturity. All the while, she failed to open up to any of her numerous friends who could not therefore help her. She withdraws from her family; her husband does not understand her and does not attempt to thereby worsening her situation. She remains lonely with the myriad personal problems all of which curtail her development process.
Edna’s marriage to Leonce
The two are officially married and have two children to show for the marriage. Anybody would therefore expect the two to be happy and share in caring for their two lovely children. However, Edna is neither affectionate towards the children nor happy with her husband two fundamental features that portray her dissatisfaction in the marriage. The short story begins with the two on a vacation thereby building a context of a happy marriage. The gap between Edna and Leonce widens as Edna struggles with her identity issues. She readily opens up for another man and starts an affair. She expresses readily expresses her affection for Robert while remains aloof towards her husband. The fact that she does this while on a family vacation portrays the distance between the two.
The short story portrays Edna as a sexual being later in the tory when she meets Arobin while her husband is away in New York for a business meeting. This part of the story epitomizes the distance between the two. Edna and Leonce never share any romantic scene in the story despite the legality of their marriage. Leonce takes her family out on a vocation a gesture that should have resulted in the two romancing each other by taking a break from the busy schedules of the day. This however does not happen as Edna takes the opportunity to start an affair with another man. Leonce readily leaves Edna alone once they return to New Orleans as he sets out for a business trip to New York. He sends their children to their grandparents thereby leaving Edna alone. This portrays the role of the husband in the widening gap between the two. He does not send time with his wife and does not therefore her understand her predicament, in fact he contributes to the worsening state of affairs in the family.
The oxford English dictionary defines awakening as the process of recognition or self-realization. The term refers to the process of becoming aware of something. The tittle is relevant to the story in which the lead character, Edna strives to understand herself and mature emotionally. The short story begins with the married Edna on a family vacation with the husband and their two children. Despite their lovely holiday, Edna is not happy with her family. She therefore spends most of her time with Adèle Ratignolle who advises her on her roles as a wife. Apparently, she had not been performing such thus resulting in the widening gap between her and her husband.
While back in New Orleans and all alone after her husband leaves for New York, Edna eventually realizes whom she truly loves. This happens when Robert comes back and confesses his love for her. She sacrifices everything including Alcée Arobin, a man she had just fallen in love with. She makes a decision to give her life to Robert who later breaks her heart when he says that he is leaving for good. Left alone with a broken heart, Edna becomes self-conscious and therefore commits suicide when she contemplates the thought of living without him in her life. The suicide is an acknowledgement of her love for Robert and the fact that she had not been happy in her marriage with (Leonce, Andrew and Anthea 21).
Booth, Andrew, Diana Papaioannou, and Anthea, Sutton. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review. Los Angeles: Sage, 2012. Print.
Chopin, Kate. The Awakenin. New Orleans: H.S. Stone & Co., 1899. Print.
Dawidowicz, Paula. Literature Reviews Made Easy: A Quick Guide to Success. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Pub, 2010. Print.
Ellis, John M. The Theory of Literary Criticism: A Logical Analysis. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977. Print.
Waugh, Patricia. Literary Theory and Criticism. Oxford [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006. Print.