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Kate Chopins The Awakening is a work of fiction that tells thestory of Edna Pontellier Southern wife and mother This bookpresents the reader with many tough questions and few answers Itis not hard to imagine why this book was banished for decades notlong after its initial publication in 1899 At that time inhistory women did just what they were expected to do They wereexpected to be good daughters good wives and good mothers Awoman was expected to move from the protection of her fathersroof to the protection of her husband Edna didnt fit this moldand that eventually leads her husband to send for a doctor It ishere that Edna Pontellier says words that define The Awakening Idont want anything but my own way That is wanting a good dealof course when you have to trample upon the lives the heartsthe prejudices of others - but no matterAs the book begins Edna is a married woman who seems vaguelysatisfied with her life However she cannot find true happinessHer awakening begins when a persistent young man named Robertbegins courting her Edna begins to respond to him with a passionshe hasnt felt before She begins to realize that she can playThroughout the book Edna takes many steps to increase herindependence She sends her children away she refuses to stay athome on Tuesdays as was the social convention of the time shefrequents races and parties Unfortunately her independenceEdna stays married because divorce was unheard of in those daysShe wants to marry Robert but he will not because it willdisgrace her to leave her husband No matter how much Edna exceedssocial boundaries she is held down by the will of others despitewhat she wants In todays world divorce sadly is almostcommonplace but in her time she would have been an outcast of hersociety By the end of The Awakening Edna feels like a possession- of her husband of her children and of her society The onlysolution she sees is to
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