I need a good theme for The Awakening by Kate Chopin. What are some important themes in The Awakening by Kate Chopin?

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This novel is a story rich with thematic topics.  Here are a few of the many ideas that Chopin was exploring in this novel.  Once you have a thematic statement, then you can craft a thesis statement for a paper by making the theme into an argument that you prove.  For example, a theme might be traditional sex roles in marriage, but a thesis will state what Chopin is SAYING about that topic.  Here are a few other topics that you could consider when you are evaluating Chopin's purpose with this novel.

  • Traditional sex roles in marriage.
  • What makes a good mother.
  • The effect of being an outsider in a society in regards to upbringing and values.
  • The influence of childhood experiences and attitudes on adulthood.
  • The importance of being self-actualized.
  • The effect(s) of other characters on Edna -- you could look at Robert, Reisz, Adele, Leonce.
  • The role of fidelity to marriage.
  • The importance of the arts as a means of individual expression.
  • What is true love?
  • Suicide
  • Social expectations on the individual.
  • How homes reflect their owners.
  • Feminism
  • Reality vs. Illusion

The list of possible themes is long, so you should consider what topic(s) strike you as most interesting or relevant to your understanding of the novel.



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The Awakening by Kate Chopin a powerful story revolving around several recurring themes.  Two of the most important themes revolve around sexism and reaction to it and free will.  Sexism is the idea that women are not equal to men, an idea explored by Chopin repeatedly.  Sexism is actually related to free will, because free will is the idea that we make our own choices and our fate is not predetermined, or we are not forced to do things we don’t want to do.  Edna is a woman, and she decides to make her own choices even with the most extreme consequences rather than be controlled by the will of a man.

Edna must decide who she will be, and this means letting go of assumptions deeply ingrained in her by society.  Edna is not happy in her marriage, but many marriages are unhappy.  Realizing that she is unhappy means confronting the sexist ideas that it is only her husband’s feelings that matter.  It is more acceptable for a husband to cheat on his wife than for a wife to cheat on her husband, and many might consider what Edna does with Robert worse than her husband cheating on her.


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