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Edna’s society places a great deal of emphasis on women performing a rigid set of requirements, including being perfect wives, doting mothers, and skillful entertainers.Women in “The Awakening”such as Adele perform their role perfectly and seem completely fulfilled by it while Edna finds it leaving her feeling empty.For this essay, think hard about Victorian expectations for women and examine how women are expected to fit into it and what happens if they do not.
The fact that Edna has multiple homes is important because they reflect her changing state of mind.For more on this topic, click here to read more about the literary history of the time period during which this was written.Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #5 Contrasting Ideas of Femininity and Masculinity Gender roles are an important theme in this novella and there are numerous examples of issues arising because of violations of or over-adherence to traditional roles.She threw her arms as if swimming when she walked, beating the tall grass as one strikes out in the water" (17).“But that night she was like the little tottering, stumbling, clutching child, who all of a sudden realizes its power and walks for the first time alone, boldly and with over confidence. Even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life" (50).“A certain light was beginning to dawn dimply within her—the light which, showing the way, forbids it" (53).(Mademoiselle Reisz) “The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings.She could have shouted with joy" (23).“The years that are gone seem like dreams-if one might go on sleeping and dreaming—but to wake up and find—oh! It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth" (82).“A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled, down, down to the water" (108).“She cast the unpleasant, pricking garments from her, and for the first time in her life, she stood naked in the open air, at the mercy of the sun, the breeze that beat upon her, and the waves that invited her" (108). Throughout The Awakening by Kate Chopin, much of the deeper meaning in the story is revealed through a number of important symbols.These symbolic elements and images make the connection between Edna’s world and her eventual awakening more potent and meaningful for the reader.These thesis statements offer a summary of different elements that could be important in an essay but you are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them.Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes at the bottom of the page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent paper. Click Here for a Free Detailed Chapter-by-Chapter Summary of “The Awakening”Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: The Layered Significance of the Title The title of Kate Chopin’s novella is significant because it refers to the many ways in which Edna begins to awaken to the world around her.The obstacle’s Edna faces are many, in different shapes and sizes, but in the end she truly does find herself, and is at peace with what she knows is past a life on earth.Through the use of the characters in the novel, along with the situations that arise through it, Chopin demonstrates how the struggle in the journey to find oneself is truly worthwhile, but not many dare to take it, and once found, not many are strong enough to continue down the same path.