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Kate Chopin, The Awakening The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, tells the story of a woman, Edna Pontellier, who transforms herself from an obedient housewife to a person who is alive with strength of character and emotions which she no longer has to repress or be shaped by her surroundings. Her behavior is more shocking and horrifying because of her position in society and it is that very position which causes her to feel restrained and makes her yearn to rebel. Adele Ratignolle is Edna's close friend and confidante, but the two women are nothing alike. Adele could not understand how Edna could say that she would never sacrifice herself for her children, or for anyone. Edna's being is taking on a new importance in her life and she is starting to realize just how important it is to be true to herself. She has never done that before because she always went along with the way things were supposed to be, holding her socials and tending to her house until she became aware that she needs more from her life.
Edna's marriage to Leonce is safe, but there is no passion or excitement. She grew fond of her husband, realizing with some unaccountable satisfaction that no trace of passion or excessive and fictitious warmth colored her affection, thereby threatening its dissolution. While this lack of emotion is enough to satisfy Edna for the majority of her marriage, she begins to allow her true self to come forth because she feels trapped and seeks a way to escape. She realizes that she needs intrigue and flavor in her marriage, especially, in her life which seems to be suffocating her.
Leonce cannot understand that she does not fit the mold of the typical Creole woman. The person whom Edna truly admires is Mademoiselle Reiz, who is a brilliant pianist, though, her talent is somewhat lost on the other people on the island. They cannot appreciate her artistry as does Edna because Mademoiselle Reiz does not fit their idea of what a proper woman should be; she is eccentric and bold. Her music touches Edna to the very core of her being and stirs up something inside of her that makes her feel alive like never before in her life. Edna respects Mademoiselle Reiz because she has the courage to be different and It is Mademoiselles music that starts to awaken Edna and allows her to see the beauty and passion in life. An amazing transformation takes place in Edna throughout the course of a few months and the people with whom she interacts and the culture in which she is submersed play a significant role in her awakening.
Edna is able to break away from the restraining world of Adele and Leonce in which she will never find her place. Stirred by the magic and intrigue of Mademoiselle Reiz's world, she finds the strength to reach for that which is real for her, and she allows her true being to shine.
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