In The Awakening, to what Creole customs/attitudes does Edna have trouble adjusting?

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cmcqueeney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Edna struggles with a number of Creole attitudes and cultural norms. In the Creole culture, the men are dominant and women are viewed as possessions to be prized and displayed like trophies. The women were expected to birth multiple children, be perfect mothers, and be skilled in social graces. All of these things reflected well on the husband. Edna feels constrained by these roles, and does not have the talents that she sees in her female Creole companions. Her husband is a classic Creole man - he spends little time with the family, valuing them only as property to be displayed to other men. Instead he spends his time in the pursuit of entertainment. At one point in the novel, he scolds Edna for allowing herself to get a sunburn. He is bothered by this because he believes that she has damaged his property. Edna also struggles to adjust to the open and meaningless flirtations that she observes in the Creole society. She is unable to flippantly flirt, and as her emotions get involved, she winds up in an affair.

msaqib | Student

She especially has trouble adjusting to how openly sexual the conversations she has with madame adele and Robert

bval | Student

The Creole society is very open when it comes to sexuality, and Edna has trouble with this behavior. She was not brought up in this society, so she has trouble accepting this behavior. Examples of this behavior can be seen when they pass around the novel that has explicit sexual content when they are on vaction on the island. It can also be seen in Robert's behavior. He is very flirtatious with Edna, and he has the repuation of being a flirt in the past with other women.