Awakening Traditional Women Essay

1005 words - 4 pages

Breaking Free People have an instinctive drive that tells them they must satisfy themselves, but many times they are hindered by factors beyond their control. Edna is restricted to the traditional role of women of the Creole society, which she hopes to break free from, but finds herself constricted nonetheless. Leonce keeps Edna restricted to the role that has become expected of her, being his wife. Edna?s sexuality and independence is explored with men such as Robert and Alcee, who allow her to release herself from her subjugation and explore her passion for life. Finally, the sea, symbolizing her freedom, entices Edna as she sees a parallel between the sea and her life.Leonce is the main cause of Edna?s lack of zeal for life. Since their marriage began Leonce has reduced Edna to the role of being his possession. However, Leonce does not do this intentionally, but rather all of society has set certain conditions on women as a whole. The women of the Creole society simply follow their roles and are content with the life they lead as completely devoted to their children and their husbands. Edna?s innate desire wants a sense of excitement in life, of which she has none. Leonce constantly criticizes Edna?s lack of interest in her motherly responsibilities. Leonce?s beliefs are defined by the Victorian social conventions. When Leonce returns home after the day when Edna goes for her first swim, he insists that she go to bed, but she wishes to lie on the hammock. ?I can?t permit you to stay out there all night,? showing how he finds her to be stubborn, simply because she is not being submissive to his every command and he becomes irritated (78). In his view, Leonce is free to do as he pleases, but his wife must conform to certain guidelines or she is not fulfilling her duties. At one point he even compares her to a mere servant when implying that it is her fault that cook has become out of hand. Leonce says ?They need looking after?suppose I didn?t look after the clerks in my office?they?d soon make a nice mess of me and my business,? implying that Edna has not been handling those things that are of importance (102). Edna is trapped in her husband?s defined manner of living and wishes to disaffiliate from this manner of living.Edna?s sexuality begins to be explored, which in a sense is her first awakening, when Robert and her become increasingly intimate in their relationship. When Edna discovers Robert is leaving she returns to her home and removes her dinner gown for a ?comfortable, commodius wrapper.? This symbolizes Edna tearing away the restrictions of society and rebelling. Robert also has obvious feelings towards Edna, but is caught in a dilemma when he feels morally wrong to carry out an affair with a married woman. His indecisiveness can be seen when he is departing for New Mexico and has come to say...

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