Welcome to MSMS. If you haven’t registered to post on this site, please take a moment to do so. Only people with school-sanctioned email addresses may post. Anyone, of course, may read what’s posted.
I expect students to post in a civil manner, but I also expect them to make engaging comments. I can choose boredom at any time just by turning on the television. Have something to say; say it with pith. I’ll monitor the comments, but the blog exists for students’ commentary rather than my own. Students get to hear me three hours a week.
Have a good semester.
My thoughts on Adele’s last words:
In The Awakening, Edna is like that of a caged bird yet gradually one who overcomes those constraints. Society, especially in the early twenty century, compels the mother, the female, to be the one ultimately responsible for offspring; even nature seems to dictate this secular and biological command. Nevertheless, the choice to accept that is one’s own- a choice that Edna makes and a choice of a heroine.
Nature demands the child to be birthed from the mother. Through puberty, pregnancy, and the eventual hours of utter pain, a child can be born only from the sweat, blood, and dignity of the mother. “She recalled faintly an ecstasy of pain, the heavy odor of chloroform…to find a little new life… added to the great unnumbered multitude of souls that come and go” (Chopin 115). Only through all that pain, a child can be born, yet a child who Edna seems not to truly care for, at least something that she would not give her all for. While both mother and father have the ecstasy of consummation, only the mother bears the pain while still being expected to bathe, change, and nurture the child- the home wife is the only wife. Edna, rather than accept this, revolts: “With an inward agony, with a flaming, outspoken revolt against the ways of Nature, she witnessed the scene of torture” (Chopin 115). Edna will fight to no end to free herself from what nature and society have deemed.
Edna believes herself to be a mother but a mother who would not give up her identity. Nonetheless, this sense of self seemed inconsequential – irrelevant in Victorian times. Ratignolle reasoned, “but a woman who would give her life for her children could do no more than that – your Bible tells you so… “Oh, yes you could!” laughed Edna. (Chopin 52). Edna elucidated, “I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself.” To Edna Pontellier, her identity is above all else- something that she fights for and will achieve to the very end.
The wife of Leonce Pontellier, the lover of Robert Lebrun, and the mingler with Alcee Arobin is a woman of desires but most important of all, a feminist that wants to be free. “She thought of Leonce and the children. They were a part of her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul” (Chopin 121). Her freedom was from the shackles of a time that could not possibly have understood. Her freedom became her death but a death that was hers- a choice. Her closest friend, Adele, believed in the principle of children above all. Edna, an antagonist of that dogma, chose herself above all- a decision that should be respected for it is her own and her own take on a solution against enslavement.