Thursday, January 23, 2020
Selfish Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopins The Awakening :: Chopin Awakening Essays
Selfish Edna Pontellier in The Awakening Could the actions of Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin's novella The Awakening ever be justified? This question could be argued from two different perspectives. The social view of The Awakening would accuse Edna Pontellier of being selfish and unjustified in her actions. Yet, in terms of the story's romanticism, Edna was in many ways an admirable character. She liberated herself from her restraints and achieved nearly all that she desired. Chopin could have written this novel to glorify a woman in revolt against conventions of the period. Yet, since the social standpoint is more factual and straightforward, it is the basis of this paper. Therefore, no, her affairs, treatment of her family and lovers, and suicide were completely unwarranted. She was not denied love or support by any of those close to her. Ultimately Edna Pontellier was simply selfish. A typically assumed reason for having an affair is that the person's spouse is, in some way, unsatisfactory. Perhaps by their affair, they are searching for a better source of love. This, however, was not a justifiable cause for Edna's adultery. Mr. Pontellier was a loving husband who tried to show his love for Edna in all of the ways he was able. Léonce showered his wife with valuable gifts. His life revolved around money, and he knew no other way to show his wife how much he loved her. He attempted to compensate Mrs. Pontellier materialistically for the lack of emotional support. While this may not be an ideal solution to the problem, it cannot be denied that Mr. Pontellier was trying to diminish the problems between them. Yet, even though it is understandable that she is upset that her husband lacks family skills, getting married was solely Edna's fault. The history of their relationship is far from perfect. Chopin states "her marriage to Léonce Pontellie r was purely an accident... He fell in love...and pressed his suit with an earnestness and an ardor which left nothing to be desired. He pleased her; his absolute devotion flattered her" (18). Edna was not fair to him when she married him without loving him. She "grew fond of her husband" (18), but fondness is not a good reason for marriage.