Conformity in The Awakening

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 502 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 502|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

The Awakening, a novel by Kate Chopin, is a powerful portrayal of a woman's struggle for independence and self-discovery in a society that expects women to conform to strict gender roles. The protagonist, Edna Pontellier, finds herself trapped in a world where she is expected to conform to societal expectations of motherhood and marriage. This essay will explore the theme of conformity in The Awakening, analyzing how the pressure to conform impacts Edna and the other characters in the novel.

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One of the central themes in The Awakening is the pressure to conform to societal expectations. Edna Pontellier is expected to fulfill the role of a dutiful wife and mother, but she finds herself feeling trapped and suffocated by these expectations. Throughout the novel, Edna struggles to break free from these constraints and find her own identity.

One way in which conformity is evident in The Awakening is through the character of Leonce Pontellier, Edna's husband. Leonce represents the traditional patriarchal society in which the novel is set, and he expects Edna to conform to the role of a submissive wife. He is disappointed when Edna does not fulfill her expected duties as a wife and mother, and he fails to understand her desire for independence.

Another character who embodies conformity in the novel is Adele Ratignolle, Edna's close friend. Adele represents the ideal woman of the time - she is devoted to her husband and children, and she finds fulfillment in her domestic role. Adele's conformity to societal expectations serves as a stark contrast to Edna's rebellion against these norms, highlighting the pressure for women to conform to traditional gender roles.

The societal pressure for women to conform to the expectations of motherhood is also evident in The Awakening. Edna is expected to prioritize her children and sacrifice her own desires for their well-being. However, she finds herself unable to fulfill this role and struggles with feelings of guilt and inadequacy as a mother. This pressure to conform to the ideal of selfless motherhood ultimately contributes to Edna's sense of entrapment and her desire for freedom.

Throughout the novel, Edna's journey towards self-discovery and independence is hindered by the pressure to conform to societal expectations. She is torn between her desire for personal fulfillment and the expectations placed upon her as a woman in the 19th century. The conflict between Edna's individuality and the societal pressure to conform ultimately leads to her tragic demise.

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The theme of conformity in The Awakening is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of the societal pressures placed upon women in the 19th century. The novel highlights the struggles of women like Edna Pontellier who were expected to conform to rigid gender roles and societal expectations. The pressure to conform to these expectations ultimately stifles Edna's individuality and leads to her tragic end. The Awakening serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of challenging societal norms and expectations in the pursuit of personal freedom and self-discovery.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Conformity in The Awakening. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 17, 2024, from
“Conformity in The Awakening.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
Conformity in The Awakening. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jun. 2024].
Conformity in The Awakening [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 Jun 17]. Available from:
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