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Throughout history individuals have been plagued with decisions in which they must choose to act in their best interest or act as a martyr dedicating their lives to the best interests of others While these choices may seem irrational selfish and poorly contemplated from the outside on the inside there are simply no other options Paradoxically the protagonists in both Kate Chopins The Awakening and Charles Fraziers Cold Mountain sacrifice what is precious to them to preserve their emotional and spiritual survival Chopins Edna Pontillier forfeits a comfortable role and style of life in order to maintain her emotional integrity and independence Set in the late Victorian Era characterized by a rigid repression of womens independence Edna Pontillier finds herself in the center of a male-dominated society and tries desperately to break through the expected mold of a woman at that time She finds it particularly difficult to conform to the expected role of Victorian motherhood Leonce Ednas husband is rather upset by this fact and often tells Edna that she must become a better mother more involved in her childrens lives similarly to their friend Adele who idolizes her children and worships her husband In short Mrs Pontillier was not a mother-woman This mother-woman seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle It was easy to know them fluttering about with extended protecting wings when any harm real or imaginary threatened their precious broad They were woman who idolized their children worshiped their husbands and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels Chopin 8 Furthermore proving her independence and self-reliance many parallelisms are drawn between Edna and the language spoken by Mrs Lebruns parrot It is language which nobody understood Chopin 1 Ednas constant struggle with dissatisfaction with the social constraints of womanhood led her to a raging internal conflict Regarded as a possession in her marriage with Leonce Edna seeks freedom and searches
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