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The Theme of Gender and Society Expectations in "The Awakening"

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Kate Chopin did a great job in breaking stereotyped female gender roles in her novel “The Awakening”. Female authors have an important position in creating the feminist movement that could bring influential change to the society. So the aim for this essay is to analyse gender and society expectation in Kate Chopin’s novel “The Awakening”. In the novel Chopin portrayed and lightened the protagonist’s life, role and experiences in her society where the woman’s role is limited to her gender and society expectations.

Edna – the female protagonist, breaks free from her society limits, she had found that women should not be restricted and control by what culture define for her by gender as a woman, she start to find her position in this huge world and among all the beauty that surrounded by her life she said: “The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” This is an absolute self-discover and recalling for the identity that was stolen from women for being a woman by gender; watching life and breaking all the women limitations which were created by patriarchal society. Chopin wants women to believe and hear their own feelings, she wants them to break free from all the obstacles that are established for her gender; to live a life as a free human being.

Chopin creates the character of Edna different from stereotype mother of late 19 century who is taught to sacrifice her life for the sake of children and husband, who completely ignore her feeling and needs of freedom and just follows the mold that society has created for her; Chopin brought deferent type of mother in her novel who makes time for herself and breaks the stereotype mother role and still love her children; “She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them. They…. spent part of the summer with their grandmother Pontellier in Iberville. Their absence was a sort of relief, though she did not admit this, even to herself.” Chopin wants to awaking women of her time who like material are possessed and owned by husband and children and life role. 

In conclusion I would focus on one of the Chopin, significant quotes in this novel: “The past was nothing to her; offered no lesson which she was willing to heed. The future was a mystery which she never attempted to penetrate. The present alone was significant”, which conveys an important message for every woman in this planet and especially women of third word, who still suffering from the role that been created and labeled for her gender, whenever you find your position as a human being in life, you are achieved and realized your freedom at the right moment, which is never late, to gather up your present and continue going up to the prominent future and never look back to the horrible past which left nothing but suffer to you, go on with your present and break whatever obstacle your way to success.

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The Theme of Gender and Society Expectations in “The Awakening”. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from
“The Theme of Gender and Society Expectations in “The Awakening”.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2023,
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