The Awakening

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade May 2001

download word file, 3 pages 2.5

The Awakening of Self Reliance "We must trust ourselves and trust the divinity within each of us". The nineteenth century poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote this quote in his essay "Self Reliance". One might find an example of self-reliance in Edna Pontellier, a character in Kate Chopin's novel "The Awakening". For many years, Edna's self reliance is locked and bound by a loveless marriage and an unwanted lifestyle. When these chains are finally broken by appearance of a new love, Edna is free to convey her own thoughts and ideas, and in turn, exhibit many of the qualities found in Emerson's essay. Some of these include: expressing herself fully and "trusting the divinity within herself" and by not falling into falling into the "conspiracy" of society against the individual. But most of all, Edna exhibits self-reliance by being misunderstood by everyone around her.

In the novel "The Awakening", Edna demonstrates self- reliance by expressing herself fully and "trusting the divinity within herself".

Edna exemplifies this trait by going for her first swim alone, without the need or want for help from anyone. Edna trusts herself to swim alone, even though she has never been able to before. This scene is described in the novel; in saying "She grew reckless, overestimating her strength She wanted to swim far out, where no women had swum before." Another example is Edna's return to art. Edna begins to express herself fully by beginning to paint again, something that she had not continued very much after her marriage. A third example of Edna's expression of self-reliance is her choice to commit suicide. Edna trusts herself and her conclusion that death is the only way to escape the boundaries of her loveless marriage and the end of her love affair with Robert Lebrun, who is...