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.