The Awakening by Kate Chopin (Part 2; Critical Approaches)

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This presentation gives you a clear view about the approaches used in the novel.

*Historical Approach
*Biographical Approach
*Psychoanalytic Approach

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The Awakening by Kate Chopin (Part 2; Critical Approaches)

  1. 1. Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”
  2. 2. Historical Approach • Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening greatly represents society in the late 1800’s due to the fact that its plot greatly relates to the women’s movement and Creole society in Louisiana. She cleverly uses specific plot events and characters to connect Edna’s life to events that were occurring at the end of this century.
  3. 3. • “The Awakening was written during a period when feminism was emerging as a vital force in American political life.”Women began to speak out against conservative ideas and demanded the rights that they thought they should rightly have. As women continued to protest and voice their opinions, they began earning greater achievements such as acceptance into colleges and getting hired as workers in professional occupations.” -Baechler, Litz, and Showalter
  4. 4. • “Many of them dick tried to change the world in which they found themselves, either by seeking better work and trying to make a better life for themselves and their families, or by tackling social problems that had arisen in the young country as a result of its rapid growth. Many tried to make a better world for women, who made up more than half the population but did not have full rights as U.S. citizens.” - Smith
  5. 5. • Edna’s wanting of independence suck relates to the ideas of the women’s movement, which she practiced in a solitary manner. She used self reflection and painting to find the strength she needed to break away from the restricted life she was living
  6. 6. • "She had resolved never again to belong to another than herself.“ –representing the feelings of a majority of women towards the end of the 19th century • “Chopin's character, Edna Pontellier, illustrates the independent nature that women began recognizing in themselves”
  7. 7. • The Awakening’s plot of Grand Isle, Louisiana directly relates to the Louisiana lifestyle of the late 1800's.This state’s residents felt strongly about the roles that women and men played in society • Adele- depicts the women who were committed to religious practices and to their family during the late 19th century
  8. 8. • Edna Pontellier’s ideals and actions greatly represent the feelings and beliefs in which belonged to women activists of the women’s movement • Edna’s family and neighbors signify the conservative views of most Americans in Louisiana
  9. 9. The most important point in husbands' lives was how to look in front of other families and friends, and of course, this was the main duty of the housekeeper, or in other words, the wife.
  10. 10. It wasn't considered appropriate for women to speak out and be rebellious enough to show that they don't have to be controlled by men.
  11. 11. Society in that era offered Edna only two choices: Marriage or Death
  12. 12. Biographical Criticism • Kate Chopin’s behavior-shocked people in the small town in Louisiana were they lived after her husband closed his cotton shop • After the death of her husband, she met a married man who was attracted to her and she gave him more than passing attention. Then she decided to leave him and go back to live with her mother in St. Louis.
  13. 13. • Chopin's father, Thomas O'Flaherty, was older than her mother, Eliza, by twenty- three years. This is also presented in Edna's marriage to Leonce who was older than she was by twelve years. • There weren't a lot of male figures in her story most likely because she didn't have them around as she was growing up
  14. 14. • All the authority figures in her life were female made her want to believe that men didn't suppress women. • Edna didn't believe that men and society could hold her back, much like Kate didn't believe that women weren't equal in society to men. • Kate's grandmother could be compared to the character of Mademoiselle Reisz in the story.
  15. 15. Kate Chopin… • As Edna Pontellier –Kate’s husband, Oscar, was from New Orleans and his cotton broker business was based there so she moved from St. Louis to be with him
  16. 16. Kate Chopin… • As Adele Ratignolle –Kate was a loving mother and wife who stayed home to raise the family and never did anything mischievous –The happy marriage life of Kate and Oscar
  17. 17. The entire Chopin family used to spend their spare time vacationing in Grand Isle, enjoying the sun and the friendly faces. This is the same location Kate Chopin uses in her novel for the Pontellier family, as well as many other families from the Creole community in which they were from.
  18. 18. Kate Chopin and Edna Pontellier • Kate searched for self-identity for her desire to know who she really was. • Edna goes through the process of trying to find herself and tries to become the person she wants to be, not what society says the ideal female should be.
  19. 19. Kate Chopin and Edna Pontellier Although Chopin didn't literally commit suicide, she died away from the literacy in her life, while the character of Edna removed herself from the life that was making her so unhappy.
  20. 20. Psychoanalytic Approach • Her relationship with Alcee and Robin ultimately represents a form of penis envy which, Freud would argue, stems from her repressed sexual desires that developed as her id was forming as an infant • Repression
  21. 21. • Edna's jealousy of Robert's letters to Madame Lebrun can be interpreted as an example of the Electra Complex; Edna wishes to destroy the mother who is receiving attention from the male that she desires. This conscious desire for Robert and unconscious hatred of Madame Lebrun can be linked to the pleasure-seeking principle of the id
  22. 22. Regression • Edna's perception of Adele's newborn baby as well as Edna's removal of her clothes before stepping into the ocean represent Edna's desire to return to the fetal stage and become re-birthed • The water of the ocean represents the womb; the stripping of her clothes represents the nakedness of being born
  23. 23. Repression Leonce loves Edna but he never expresses these feelings Robert flees to Mexico rather than express his love for Edna Returning to New Orleans, Robert delays seeing her for the same reason
  24. 24. Mademoiselle Reisz possesses an insight into matters of the heart and soul, yet she never expresses what in her past has allowed her to develop this insight Edna’s inability to continue to repress her newly-discovered feelings drives her to her suicide
  25. 25. Displacement Chapter 12 “Beaudelet grumbled because Mariequita was there, taking up so much room. But in reality, he was annoyed at having Monsieur Farival, who considered himself the better sailor of the two. But he would not quarrel with so old a man as Monsieur Farival so he quarreled with Mariequita.”
  26. 26. Id, Ego, Superego

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