For the last several weeks of our great summer semester we learned a great deal of different literary theories, we have discussed and these theories and ideas sought to get a better understanding of them. Though I do see literature in a different perspective then when I first started this course I feel there is so much more for me to learn in the future on the subject of literature. Though there were several great reads to choose from for our final paper I have decided to write about the book titled ” The Awakening” by Kate Chopin which was based during the 1800’s.
I believe that the book has the Feminism theory seems to apply to it. As we discussed before not one definition of Literature is the same, there is more than one answer to this question. It seems that women are under a patriarchal oppressed by the economical, political, social, and psychological. Throughout the course Feminism has transformed “as it engages with both critiques from within and encounters from psychoanalysis, Marxism, Post- Structuralism, ethnic studies, postcolonial theory, and lesbian and gay studies – have produced a complex proliferation of work not easily subsumed o a single description. Rivkin & Ryan). ”
It is an analysis of women in a male dominated society. The mother of the Feminism theory was Virginia Woolf. Feminism may be viewed by our biology that may determine our sex, the culture will determine our gender. Yet it also is viewed as what the woman undergoes beneath a patriarchy, of the traditional male dominated society. A society that seems to muzzle women’s views, living in a one-sided, yet making women feel as secondary to the male opinions, making them feel non- existence.
It was seen that all the scholarly teachings were that f the male dominated views, where there were no scholarly woman writers. It seemed that the feminism movement bounced from ethnic and gender boundaries, it’s involvement with stereotypical representations of genders. “The early period is sometimes described as having two stages, one concerned with the critique of misogynist stereotype in male literature, the other devoted to the recovery of a lost tradition and to the long labor of historical reconstruction” (Rivkin & Ryan).
Though women writers were ostracized from an education, yet woman still found an outlet in diaries, letters, as well as sentimental iction. Many women sought to bring forth what they had to offer, a different perspective of that of the male denominated view. To question the language of the work, “if all language carries worlds within it, assumptions and values that lie in the simplest of utterances, then how can women take the language, the language of patriarchy, and hope to use it forge a better world for women” (Rivkin & Ryan).
They believed in standing up for women to take the role of what men had done for so long now they to take that place for other womenSome women who were artists rejected feminist readings of their work. They may have wanted to be viewed only on the same terms as artists that had preceded them. The work of Kate Chopin was a daring work for its time period. it challenged what was to be acceptable during those times. Though there were many other characters in the story the devisable character was Edna Pontellier was a great example of the Feminism theory.
Edna did not live or behave like women during her time or even conform to what was expected for her to behave. She refused to be confined into society’s norms, that were to be expected of her for her time period. Looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which as suffered some damage” (Chopin). Yet for the start of this story we see the male dominance is to be by Mr. Pontellier’s over his wife Edna, that he claims her as his own personal property like any other possessions that he may own.
He sought 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 of his conversation (Chopin). ” Again he believes that Edna’s sole responsibility is that to his. Seeing that they are married and he provides, she should be attentive to his needs at all times, as well as his children’s. “He reproaches his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother’s place to look after children, who’s on earth was it? He himself had his hands full with his brokerage business.
He could not be in two places at once; staying at home to see no harm befell them” (Chopin). Edna does not live in the social norms of 1890’s women, she instead king a living for his family on the street, and rejected the norms that were to be expected of her. She was to the nurturing loving mother that was expected of her and the character of Mrs. Adele Ratignolle took part of. Instead, Edna seems to be rebellious against societal as well as the expected fundamentals of a loving, caring mother who was one hundred percent devoted to her children.
Yet her children did not seek her out as a loving mother either, there was no nurturing of the children, to no traditional authority. Yet Edna’s society believe that women were to behave like, “The mother-women were women who idolized their children, worshipped their husbands nd esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels”(Chopin). Mademoiselle Reisz in a way lives in the exile, for also choosing to live outside of the norms, and challenging the status quote on women.
Yet through everything Edna defines her husband once more by moving out of their home into her own what she called ‘the pigeon house’. “She was visited by no more outburst, moving her such futile expedients. She began to do what she liked. She completely abandoned her Tuesday home, and did not return the visits of those who called upon her” (Chopin). Edna seems to be acting more in a masculine perspective doing what she wishes when she wished without regards to anyone else.
Marginalization” applies to being strained to the border of what is treated as socially and politically significant; the female voice was commonly marginalized, or discounted altogether. Though Edna wanted to liberate herself from the norms of the patriarchy that the men had on the women, while she even reached to an extent of the masculine sexuality, she was never fully capable of accepting it, how she is never accepted the ifferences of gender distinctions between one another.
Her final realization of natural position of woman and mother in combination with the societal position she’s expected to fill drives her to suicide. She wanted to liberate herself from the daily norms of the women in her society. Feminist critics conducing “gynocriticism” have found it useful to look at the images of women portrayed by women authors to discover how women “have felt, perceived themselves, and imagined reality” Edna is to go through the daily life of a woman, with a patriarchal view of it towards the end.