Awakening By Edna Pontellier

There are many important paths that we must follow on our journey through life.

We follow the path without questioning its intent. The path informs us when we
should learn to talk, to walk, to marry, and to have children. We are told that
we should never stray from it, because if we do, society will make it certain
that we are bound for damnation. In the novel The Awakening the main character,

Edna Pontellier, has followed this path without so much as a fuss. All that
changes when Edna is awakened from a life long slumber­a slumber, which she
found repetitious, monotonous, and futile. She discovers that she is incomplete
being just a wife and a mother. She needs to fill the void that has been empty
for so long. She finds herself looking aimlessly beyond the path toward a
destination of new feelings, adventures, and awakenings her quest for true love.

Edna stands under this symbol of love, she is faced with a dilemma. Should she
kiss, (or in this case, marry), whether or not it is love? Or should she pass by
the opportunity and prepare herself for the hurricane winds of a disappointed
and disapproving society? Edna chose to do what society wanted her to do­she
got married and left her fantasies and dreams in the depths of the shadows.
"The acme of bliss, which would have been a marriage with the tragedian,
was not for her in this world. As the devoted wife of a man who worshiped her,
she felt she would take her place with a certain dignity in the world of
reality, closing the portals forever behind her upon the realm of romance and
dreams." (P. 24) After marriage, hidden around the curvatures of the path,
were the expectations of motherhood and being a devoted mother, after all
"if it was not a mother\'s place to look after children, whose on earth was
it?" (P. 7) The appearance of Edna\'s life looked perfect­she was the envy
of many women who declared, "Mr. Pontellier was the best husband in the
world. Mrs. Pontellier was forced to admit she knew of none better." (P. 9)

The cover of her life had that of a fairy tale, but inside, the pages were
filled with the emptiness and the loneliness she was feeling. During that summer
at Grand Isle, the pages were finally read, and slowly Edna became less and less
concerned for the welfare of her family. "He [Mr. Pontellier] thought it
very discouraging that his wife, who was the sole object of his existence
evinced so little interest in things which concerned him, and valued so little
his conversation." (P. 6) In Mr. Pontellier\'s eyes his wife was not a
mother-woman, because "it was easy to know them, fluttering about with
extended, protecting wings when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their
precious brood. They were women who idolized their children, worshiped their
husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals
and grow wings as ministering angels." (P. 10) His wife seemed more
interested in using her "protective" wings to fly about in search of
the independent soul she once threw away at the altar. In the meantime, "if
one of the little Pontellier boys took a tumble whilst at play, he was not apt
to rush crying to his mother\'s arms for comfort; 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." (P. 9) The love between Edna and her children existed, but
it resembled more of the love between the members of an extended family in the

1990s. "Sometimes [she\'d] gather them passionately in her heart; she would
sometimes forget them, and their absence was a sort of relief." (P. 24)

Around her, Edna could see the devoted Creole mothers flocking about their
precious children. These women frowned upon Edna\'s laissez faire attitude toward
her children. None of the other women could relate to Edna\'s declaration,
"I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my
life for my children; but I wouldn\'t give myself." (P. 25) Edna made the
decision to have a family when she was young, naive, and unaware of what she
truly wanted. That summer, she awakened from her slumber and frantically began
to search for the gateway to her dreams. As for her children, "they need
not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul." (P. 152)

Raising a