What are some of the feminist elements of the novel?
(Women's role, Edna's position in society)
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There are many feminist elements of the novel "The Awakening." A woman's role is not, Edna figures out, as a mother and a wife, but something more. She is restless for more. Léonce's opinion is that Edna, and all women, should just be wives and mothers, and he chastises Edna for what he sees as her lack of mothering skills. The awakening, is titled so as a reference to the awakening Edna does to her own life and position in society, realizing that she does not want to be just a wife and a mother.
Edna's character has many feminist characteristics. Her apparent lack of mothering skills, her less than besotted attitude toward her husband, and her general dissatisfaction with the role of women in her social set.
Edna takes little steps to assert her personal freedom. She refuses to check on her son when Leonce asks her to, to come inside, to listen to his stories.
The fact that she moves out of her comfortable home, refuses to accept callers, leaves her children, and takes a lover all show her unwillingness to stay within the male driven roles. Even her ultimate decision illustrates her need to control her own destiny.
It is Sexism. People thought that women shouldn't have their own desires or do anything on their own, as they thought that women's role in society is to supervise and take care of the family members and also to attend social functions with their husbands. This book plays about the unfairness sexism and the suppression of individual freedom that it resulted in.
Edna takes some personal steps to get her own freedom. She refuses to sleep with her husband, stop the social functions with the guests, ignore the household responsibilities that she is burdened to do and resumes painting as a hobby. She even left the house as a final act of defiance and assertion
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