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Fulfillment In The Awakening

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In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier goes through a process of discovering herself of her own awakening through several phases. Before Edna actually discovers herself, she finds herself hung up between being able to identify herself and what she wants and the actual real life of women. Her first swim in the ocean allows her to become more greatly aware of herself. She sees herself as a new person no longer enduring the known identity of the mother-person and begins to understand the true things she longs for. Then she suddenly gives up her life, her home and her husband to move into a new home and explore herself in another part of her awakening by falling in love with her friend Robert. Her final awakening is that of her not being able to handle the appeal of her society she lives in by maintaining her wants and needs with her responsibilities as a wife and mother. In the end she understands that she will never be able to fulfill herself and ends her battle of despair by taking that final swim. So what is the meaning of discovery of fulfillment for the understanding of The Awakening by Kate Chopin?

Before her awakening, Edna was known not to be a true mother-woman. She was never concerned with all the normal motherly attributes all the other mothers portrayed. They were to love and admire their husband and children and take on household duties. The women were perfect in their grace and charm and their husbands were known to adore them. Edna did not believe this role as a mother was very self-fulfilling. Even though she did appear to love her children, she felt the need to fulfill herself outside of her home life. She also begins to understand her awakening from the way her husband treats her. To him, she is his possesion. She belongs to him. And if that role is not fulfilled he lets her know of her lacking attention to the family. When she began to abandon her household possessions by stomping on her wedding ring and smashing a crystal vase, she felt as if she was able to do as she as she wanted and feel as she wanted. Mr. Pontellier however, was shocked by her disregard for her motherly duties. The pressures her husband put on Edna are freed by being with Robert and she begins to understand the problems she faces with the life she lives. She accepts that she can give into desire even if there is no love. It's not what you want, its what you need and she couldn't go back to her husband. She discovers her fulfillment without her husband and with the true love that she wants.

Hearing the music of Mademoiselle Reisz, her imagination runs wild with images of all the freedom she longs for. The naked man on the beach shows solitude and she begins to realze where her happiness is found through independence. When Robert leaves Edna for Mexico, she is left alone to not know what to do with her own self. She then returns home and takes on painting as her new understanding of self. Her quest to find herself is the most important to her and she acts on it by living as an artist. The way Edna uses the art of music and painting to explore herself is not being obedient to the role she is supposed to be attaining. Edna's rebellious views of art



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