Kate Chopin's novella, 'The Awakening,' depicts the sexual awakening and affair of Edna Pontellier. Through Alcee Arobin, Edna's lover, Chopin interrogates. From this perspective, the novel ostensibly focuses on Edna's relationships with her husband, a would-be lover, Robert, and her actual lover, Alcee Arobin. Alcee Arobin follows Edna around and spends a great deal of time with her while in a sense, vicariously lives out her relationship-fantasy of Robert with Alcee.
It could best be described as a life that she was confined to living rather than the life that she had always yearned for. With the winds of change came a person that she found contrasting to her current life. This man was Alcee Arobin. His role in her life was not true love either. He merely introduced the taste of tangible love to a searching body.
This love was not the kind that Edna was longing for either. This was something that was foreign between her and her husband. This affair was important to her becoming an individual. The entire pre-Robert time was in preparation to finding him. She decided to close her house up and move to a smaller, less desirable one.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin: an analysis | LiteraryLadiesGuide
The fact that it is less desirable is a key factor. This makes it impossible to assume that she was moving out to live a better material life.
She decided that she would sacrifice her good life and possessions in order to fully acquire individualism. This character is what made it impossible for Edna ever to have him as her own. Charles Bovary had grown fond of the girl, but Emma Bovary had evidently formed no such attachments.
And what of it? Her maternal attachments to her own child are obstructed by her objectification of motherhood. Moreover, she hopes that Mr.
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin: an analysis
Her husband, Charles, can do no good in her eyes. Her overriding sentiment towards her relationships is one of resentment.
Edna’s love for Leonce, Robert, and Arobin in The Awakening
However, it is also evident that Edna longs for true intimacy. She experiences an illusive longing for something out-of-reach: Although Edna and Emma relate to people in different ways, one can argue that both behavioral patterns stem from the same core conflict — fear of attachment.
To mask her fear of attachment, Edna Pontellier develops generalized feelings of resentment towards the responsibilities that come with social relationships, while her unfulfilled need for attachment translates itself into indiscriminate feelings of despair. However, it can also be argued that her chronic disappointment and objectification of relationships is a defense mechanism — masking her unconscious fear of attachment — as it keeps her from enjoying her relationships and forming healthy attachments to significant others.
Emma also uses this strategy in her relationship towards life. She cannot find fulfillment in and attach to the present, and thus continuously casts her hopes in the future, as she waits: It can be said that Emma creates these improbable hopes because, subconsciously, she wants to be disappointed. It allows her to always shift the blame for her unhappiness rather than search for the root of the problem buried in her past.
Edna's love for Leonce, Robert, and Arobin in The Awakening - SchoolWorkHelper
Firstly, they are inclined to fall in love with men who are out of their reach and therefore do not provoke their fear of attachment as the chances for true attachment with these men, no matter how much Edna and Emma believe they want it, are low.
Emma hopes to escape her mundane and dreary life through marriage.Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening = p 77 Alcee Arobin kisses Edna's hand, like a "narcotic"
His presence, and obvious fancy for her, ignited in her new hopes for the future. Firstly, marital ties posed an obstacle to legitimate attachment to these lovers, thus making it possible for love to grow without being strangled by fear of attachment. Moreover, it can be argued that Robert, like Edna, suffers from an unconscious fear of attachment.
Furthermore, he is flirtatious and uncommitted: Edna thus unconsciously sees in him the perfect candidate to fall in love with. Emma and Leon have much in common, just as Edna and Robert do.
Thus, they both displace their subconscious drive to detach themselves from their circumstances and experience it as love for the other.
However, this immediate intimacy they share is subconsciously perceived as threatening to Emma and ultimately leads to her declining love for him — as the relationship progresses, her annoyances toward him increase. Where she first tried to rationalize her avoidance of Leon as a sacrifice brought about by virtuous motives, Emma later hides her fear of intimacy with the mask of disappointment.
Similarly, Edna eventually detaches herself from Robert. Nothing else in the world is of any consequence. These last two sentences seem to contradict each other — you are more important to me than anything. I must leave you. The excuse that her friend needs her can be seen as a rationalization to cover up her true unconscious motives for running away.
Robert does not wait for her to come back, but left her a note: Here one sees that Robert used the same strategy of escape that Edna had used — leaving when the situation becomes too intimate and the prospect of attachment becomes too real. His parting words, too, signify a fear of attachment. One notices that Edna and Emma have much less difficulty falling in love with men who are not sincere, while their relationships with men who do truly love them — such as their respective husbands, as well Robert and Leon — are full of psychological conflict.