A Sexual Awakening

Edna’s Sexual Awakening
Keith Joiner
South University Online

                                              Edna’s Sexual Awakening

I’m going to explore Chopin’s “The Awakening” from a feminist perspective. Edna
Pontellier was in a loveless marriage, and even with all the money she had and her privileged                      
lifestyle, she was a very unhappy woman. What made her so unhappy? Well I believe it was just
the mundane life living with her husband, and the societal norms, that she felt oppressed by. Her
awakening in a sexual way came about by way of two different men, Alcee Arobin and Robert
LeBrun. Since we are speaking from the way a woman may view the story of “The Awakening,”
lets also consider the psychoanalytical perspective, and the historical perspective.
      First there is a lot of psychoanalysis to be discovered in the text, certain things depicted can
be analyzed as representing certain aspects of Edna’s life, and where her mental state was at the
time. For example when she found herself in a sexual relationship with the first man Alcee
Arobin, the reader can ask themselves what she was thinking. What mental state was she in? Did
this give her courage to expand into more of a romance with the younger man Robert? Clearly
the other man Alcee Arobin was purely a sexual relationship, but with Robert it’s obvious her
feelings were more than just physical. Edna really thought she was in love with Robert.
        Examining the text from a historical perspective, Edna’s behavior during this post-civil war
time was unheard of. For a woman during that time, to behave the way Edna did, her husband
and other’s thought she went crazy, and needed psychiatric treatment.
Clearly when Chopin wrote the original text in 1899 after the civil war, and before
women had any rights. Chopin makes the effort to get across to her audience a certain  
feminist perspective. Edna reaches out to go for the gusto, so to speak. In...