In The Awakening, what kind of mother is Edna?

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Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I would describe Edna as a good mother, through the lens of 21st-century motherhood, though she is an atypical one; she's not the overly-nurturing and abundantly maternal type. She insists on having and retaining her own identity, despite her status as a mother, something which was rather unusual for a woman in the time and place when the novel is set. Each of her boys, unlike the other kids, would not "rush crying to his mother's arms for comfort" if he falls down; instead, "he would more likely pick himself up, wipe the water out of his eyes and the sand out of his mouth, and go on playing."...

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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nicole8923 | Student

Though Edna loves her children, she is erratic toward them, sometimes embracing them, at other times ignoring them. She realizes that it is her fate to be a mother, even though she is not particularly good at it.

Chantelm | Student

Edna isn't the best mother and she isn't the example of a 'mother-woman' which was the ideal woman of the time. She doesn't spend time with them or even care for them she has other people do it for her. She thinks about her kids and says she would give any material things for then but she says she won't give up herself meaning her dreams and goals for them.

brunoismydog | Student

Painting evokes the passion that Edna lacks in her life. However, there are suggestions that Edna's art is somehow flawed. When she tries to make a sketch of Madame Ratignolle, we are told that the sketch is very good in some respects, but not a good likeness. Madame Reisz cautions Edna about what it takes to be an artist, the "courageous soul" and the "stronged wings." Edna also loves her children, however she would not give herself to her children but rather sacriface herself for them. She realizes that she has awaken to a society filled with limitations, therefore sees her only way out by freeing herself permanently form society.

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