Chopin's Title Selection in The Term Paper

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Here, we see that Edna realizes what is happening to her and why. She sees Robert as a catalyst for her awakening but not the answer to her yearnings for a more fulfilled life. It is also important to note how Edna refers to her life being a stupid dream. This remark illustrates the intensity of what she is going through - in essence; it pinpoints the reason behind her awakening.

Another character responsible Edna's awakening is the doctor. As we have mentioned, Edna is living in a day and age where women are supposed to be happy fulfilling the role of wife and mother. When Edna seeks out the doctor for advice, his words are difficult to hear. While he may empathize with her, he is also being pragmatic when he tells says, "Youth is given up to illusions" (147). His words reinforce what she already knows and Edna realizes that she is trapped. She is not free and she cannot remove herself from the life she has. However, this realization does not deter her and all she can say to the doctor is how much "better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one's life" (147). Here we see that Edna is simply not prepared to cope with what she has discovered - she knows she could never break free of the limits that society has placed on her and she know that she will never be happy with the life she has as a mother. Simply put, she is not satisfied. While this is a sad fact, it is something that Edna cannot hide - nor does she want to hide it. She wrestles with her emotions for her children throughout the entire novel. She is not compelled to be a mother and she does not want to fake it either. This becomes clear when Edna moves away from her husband and children into the pigeon house. Even when she has been separated from them for days, Edna was happy to her children, but we never see a lasting happiness nor do we see a change of heart. Instead, we read, "The children appeared before her like antagonists who had overcome her; who had overpowered and sought to drag her into the soul's slavery for the rest of her days" (151). Here we see that the pull of motherhood is not enough to bring Edna back home. Rather than long to be with them after an absence, Edna thinks of her husband and children and realizes that they are part of her life but "they need not have thought that they could posses her, her body and soul" (152). This seems to be the final blow to Edna's past life. Children might be considered a blessing but for Edna, they were a burden - a burden she could not bear.

The title of Kate Chopin's novel, the Awakening, epitomizes the theme of the story. Chopin employs Edna's setting as an impetus for her awakening. Edna is a woman that was living in the wrong century. She has dreams and desires but, as a woman, she cannot enjoy them because she is expected to be content being a wife and a mother. Characters are also pivotal in Edna's development. Her family, her husband, Robert, and the doctor all play a role in helping Edna decide what is best for her. Her husband neglects her, her children do not compel her to be a nurturing mother, Robert only makes her more aware of what she cannot have, and the doctor reinforces everything she suspected. Edna awakens to the fact that she is stuck in a century where women are very limited in what they can do outside the home. Edna is glad that she became aware of what the world had to offer and was determined to enjoy it - even for a short while. Her awakening was not pleasant because her new knowledge only made her existence more painful. The Awakening could be titled "The Rude Awakening" because Edna could never put into action all that she knew to be true and…[continue]

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