The Awakening Edna Pontellier Essay Research Paper

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The Awakening- Edna Pontellier Essay, Research Paper Edna Pontellier Throughout The Awakening, a novel by Kate Chopin, the main character, Edna Pontellier showed signs of a growing depression. There are certain events that hasten this, events which eventually lead her to suicide. At the beginning of the novel when Edna’s husband, Leonce Pontellier, returns from Klein’s hotel, he checks in on the children and believing that one of them has a fever he tells his wife, Edna. She says that the child was fine when he went to bed, but Mr. Pontellier is certain that he isn’t mistaken: “He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children.” (7) Because of the reprimand, Edna goes into the next room to check on the children. “She soon came back

and sat on the edge of the bed, leaning her head down on the pillow . She began to cry a little, and wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her peignoir.” (7) This is the first incident in which we see Edna’s depression. At first, it doesn’t seem like it is that significant, but Edna then goes out and sits on the porch and cries some more: ” The tears came so fast to Mrs. Pontellier’s eyes that the damp sleeve of her peignoir refused to dry them . Turning, she trust her face, steaming and wet into the bend of her arm and went on crying there, not caring any longer to dry her face, her eyes, her arms. She could not have told you why she was crying.” (7-8) As time goes on we can see that her depression grows ever so slightly, and that it will continue to grow throughout the

novel. Such happenings are nothing new to Edna: ” Such experiences as the foregoing were not uncommon in her married life. They seemed never before to have weighed much against her husband’s kindness and a uniform devotion which had come to be tacit and self understood.” (8) The author goes on to describe what Edna felt during the episode: ” An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish. It was like a shadow, like a mist passing across her soul’s summer day.” (8) When Edna goes to mass with her friend, Robert Lebrun, we see another instance where she’s not herself: “A feeling of oppression and drowsiness overcame Edna during the service. Her head began to ache, and

the lights on the altar swayed before her eyes. Another time she might have made an effort to regain her composure; but her one thought was to quit the stifling atmosphere of the church and reach the open air.” (34) For the rest of the day she lingers at Madame Antoine’s, with no mind of what her husband thinks. He didn’t know that she was going in the first place. She seems not to worry about what others think of her, except Robert. When Edna returns home later that day, she finds out that Robert is leaving for Mexico. She is rather upset with this news and afterwards leaves to go home. “She went directly to her room. The little cottage was close and stuffy after leaving the outer air. But she did not mind; there appeared to be a hundred different things demanding her

attention indoors.” (42) She tries to ignore that his leaving and not telling her affects her so much. Yet she declines an invitation from Madame Lebrun to go and sit with them until Robert leaves. When Edna sees him leave it tears her up inside that her companion, the one person that she felt understood her, is leaving: “Edna bit her handkerchief convulsively, striving to hold back and to hide, even from herself as she would have hidden from another, the emotion which was troubling – tearing- her. Her eyes were brimming with tears.” (44) Edna’s life is not complete when Robert leaves: Robert’s going had some way taken the brightness, the color, the meaning out of everything. The conditions of her life were in no way changed, but her whole existence was dulled, like a