And the Awakening continues... In this section of the book we observe as Edna starts to pursue her financial and geographic freedom. She shows even more distance in her relationship with Leonce when determining the move, "The house, the money that provides for it, are not mine. Isn't that reason enough?" (Chopin 107). In technicality, the house and the money are in fact Edna's because they are married, but Edna no longer sees herself as a party to matrimony. She seeks to become fully independent from the archaic chains that bind her to her husband. So she, rather impulsively, decides to move out, to erase her past life. An interesting aspect of this dynamic is that Mr. Pontellier's disapproval of Edna's moving stems from his preoccupation towards his business. He insists that the old house be renovated sumptuously in order to "save appearances" (Chopin 127). Meanwhile, "the pidgeon house pleased" Edna, greatly, perhaps, because she finds it easier to have an adulterous relationship in a house that isn't entrenched with thoughts of family and tradition. Yes. Edna finally consummates an adulterous relationship, but... No. Not with Robert... With famed bachelor Alcee Arobin. However conflicting these simultaneous relationships must be, I think they have their specific appeals to Edna. Edna is drawn to Arobin because of her most primal instincts, "she had become supple to his gentle, seductive entreaties" (Chopin 125). But Edna is drawn to Robert in a much more wholesome and idealistic vision. She enjoys the idea of Robert. That is why when Robert returns, they immediately appear incompatible as a couple. At the end of the day, Edna still needs to sort out her feelings and make more awakened decisions.
Who do you think Edna will end up with?
How come Edna's new house which is supposed to symbolize freedom is termed "pidgeon house", a synonym for cage?
How does Edna feel toward her children? Fickle affection or motherly responsibility?
One connection I made was to The Adventures of Dick and Jane. In a funny sequence, workers remove Jane's lawn grass given her precarious financial situation. As neighbors walk by, she screams to the workers for them to remove the grass immediately because it was not the one she ordered. Like Mr. Pontellier, Jane is more worried with social status than the real problem. I guess it is universal human nature to live through appearances. Another connection I made was to Brazilian novel, Dom Casmurro. In the book, an adulterous relationship is implied but never confirmed. I found that ambiguity very similar to the ending of Chapter 31, in which Arobin caresses and seduces Edna. It is not explicit whether Edna and Arobin had sex, just how it is not clear in Dom Casmurro whether the wife was ever unfaithful. In either case, I found that ambiguity is sometimes preferrable to explicitness. Let your imagination do the rest of the work...
Well, The tittle of this blog entry will be one of my favorite quotes in the world:
I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.
— Maya Angelou
Be, I completely accede to what you stated except for:
“Meanwhile, "the pidgeon house pleased" Edna, greatly, perhaps, because she finds it easier to have an adulterous relationship in a house that isn't entrenched with thoughts of family and tradition” (Sarti 1)---kkkkkk joking
I don’t believe Edna bought a separate house because she thought it was easier to have an adulterous relationship. I believe that she bought a new house, because she is starting to act more independently, and therefore, desires to own what she can call hers. I think this has to do with what I was saying in my previous blog entry, where indeed Edna is becoming more of a man. She acts according to her pleasures that are manifested now in an “appealing animalism that stirrers impatiently within her” (Chopin 106). She is not afraid of what others may think of her, and she likes the thought of independence when she “drank the liquor from the glass as a man would have done” or states that she shall like her independent house because “she likes the feeling of freedom and independence” and currently she lives in a house where “the money that provides for it and her aren`t hers” (Chopin 106). We have to remember that Edna countless times stated that her husband has no significance to her any longer, as she ruminates constantly upon “Her husband as a person who she had married without love as an excuse” (Chopin 105). Furthermore, “she deeply cares about Robert, and believes that Alceé Arobin is absolutely nothing to her” (Chopin 105). Therefore, I wouldn`t think she is buying the house as a foreshadowing to having sex with Alceé. Especially when she doesn`t give Alceé all of her attention, and hates when he refers to her as gorgeous. She wants to be recognized by her boldness and her intelligence, and not as another common woman from society.
Edna, after she has been awakened, now realizes the prejudice and the hypocrisy of society. She sees Mr. Pontellier more preoccupied with his work and social status then with her. As he saw the letter from Edna, he didn’t` even care to think that maybe his wife was trying to end their marriage, or having an affair. He was too preoccupied with other matters, since women were considered objects in a society in which they are placed in secondary plan. Especially when “he knows his Creole too well”, and knows it isn’t in a Creole woman`s character to commit adultery (Chopin 90). Mr. Pontellier just forgot that Edna isn’t an original Creole, she`s from Kentucky. And that`s one of the main reasons she complains that she doesn`t belong in this society.
Furthermore, now that Edna has seen the truth behind the whole hypocritical society, she will fight against these standards by buying this house. Mrs. Reiz noticed this unconscious determination in Edna, so much so, that she “put her arms around Edna and felt her shoulder blades, to see if her wings were strong, and said to Edna ‘the bird that would soar above the level of pain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth’”(Chopin 112). Edna is different now; she sees the truth. “She feels as if the mist had been lifted from her eyes, enabling her to look upon and comprehend the significance of life, that monster made of beauty and brutality”(Chopin 113). She will fight this monster with intent to find more about what she can do, and what kind of woman she is. Maybe that`s how she sees herself now, after she kissed and had sex with Alceé; as a monster made of brutality and beauty. As a women that can fight for what she aims with no fear, and that can still be attractive and satisfy her animal instincts. After all, she will “one of these days, going to pull herself together for a while to think—to determine what character of woman she is (…)” (Chopin 111).
Well, after seeing that Edna is taking action in claiming her space in society, I could only connect this to a book we read in eighth grade with Mrs. Elicia called Shabanu by Suzanne Fischer Staples. It talks about a gypsy girl that lives in the desert between Pakistan and India during the 1930`s. She is Muslim, and she has to marry at an early age. In this society women are as well considered inferior, and many of women`s punishments are connected to men beating their daughters and wives. Shabanu, in the other hand, has a nice father, like Edna, who she cares a lot, and who treats her in some ways like a man. Thus, she acts boyishly as Edna does sometimes,
This Blog keeps cutting my text, here's the rest:
Shabanu, in the other hand, has a nice father, like Edna, who she cares a lot, and who treats her in some ways like a man. Thus, she acts boyishly as Edna does sometimes, and she herself isn`t happy to marry a man that is 54 years old when she is only 12. In other words, she isn`t happy with whom she will marry as Edna isn’t happy with her marriage. Furthermore, both these women are very strong, since in their correspondent societies, they act in ways to claim their space. They want to stop being viewed as objects, and while Edna buys a house to defy society, Shabanu asks of her husband to hire a private tutor to teach her how to read and write in the sequel to the first book. This was considered outrageous for her time and country.
Moreover, I just recently saw the movie “Chocolat”, starring Juliette Binoche portraying Vianne Roche. Vianne is a single mother, who travels in 1959 to a small village in France. She opens a Mayan Chocolaterie, and faces tremendous oppression from this prejudicial society. Like, Edna, Vianne is very daring. The society in which now she finds herself is very religious, and when they see that Vianne doesn’t attend church or that she doesn’t have a husband, automatically society starts to shut her down. However, as Edna, Vianne has strong wings and will fight against the grain through small actions, as making friends with an eccentric old woman called Armande (coincidently as does Edna with Mr. Reiz). Vianne will as well make friends with Gypsies and start a romance with one of them (Jonny Depp), and through her struggle settle her name and position in society, just as Edna is trying to do.
In relation to the wings that Mrs. Reiz describes in Edna, do you believe Edna will exceed in her struggle? How do you think the 1800`s society will view it? How about Mr. Pontellier, don’t you think is hypocritical of him to be mad with Edna for moving and care less about her, instead of not regarding what drives her to? Don’t you think it could be considered a valid argument for Edna to not take care of her duties as mother, since her husband doesn’t seem to care about her less? Is he fulfilling his duty after all? Think as a women in the 1800`s THAT HASN’T BEEN AWAKENED, would you have the courage to take this bold move, as Edna did of buying a separate house?
* Title: Money and Freedom go Hand in Hand
The inner indecisiveness wide as the wavering ocean- Pgs. 105- 139
This short section of the book, it can be noticed that Edna is now being affected even more by her awakening. By the way it is stated on how she act and how she looks. Some actions are more discrete than others but still worth mentioning such as ”She drank the liquor from the glass as a man would have done” (Chopin 106) At this part Edna does not only awakens her independence and her feelings but also awakens her sexuality with Alcée Arobin, even when it is not explicated sated that they slept together, but it is still foreshadowed. At this point I can make a crazy connection with Edna, now I can see her as country that wants to be independent. First she thinks, realizes and acts without no one consent, and she is reprimanded by her actions by her husband, when he disguises that Edna was moving out of her house “Furthermore, in one of the daily papers appeared a brief notice a summer sojourn abroad, and that their handsome residence on Esplanade Street was undergoing sumptuous alterations, and would not be ready for occupancy until their return. Mr. Pontellier had saved appearances!”(Chopin 127) This can be compared to the global awakening that started with the Arab spring. The protesters are going out to show their disagreement against the government, and the govern is trying to dissolve this great movements and disguise it to the rest of the world, just as Mr. Pontellier did to Edna, who is in her awakening. Having made this connection it makes me wonder if this is also a book that discreetly condemns the society at the time, while at the same time it is a feminist book?
I did also find out another metaphors being foreshadowed “She sat at the window, which looked out over the house tops and across the river. The window frame was filled with pots of flowers.”(Chopin 131) the window can be taken as freedom meaning, but as she is in the inside of the house it can mean she is still trapped. The river could mean something like the flow of time, while she waits to do her final action, or the refreshment of a new beginning as the flowers mean Edna’s renascence.
A doubt have been bothering since I read this section of the book where Madame Reisz says about Robert “…you are not free to listen to him or to belong to him”(Chopin 108) Is Edna willing to “be” from Mr. Pontellier to “belong” to Robert? Even when she has stated “… She had resolved never again to belong to another than herself” (Chopin 108) doesn’t her own thinking contradict herself? Isn’t her love for Robert going to change her and make her submissive? Does Robert has the right to change Edna since he started her awakening?
Now it is fully implied her love and devotion (?) for Robert when she describe herself to be feeling like a lost soul, but at the end still makes her wander “… he had seemed nearer to her off there in Mexico”(Chopin 139) Was all her love product of her imagination? Did Robert really felt the same as her? Are her feelings exalted because it is the first time she really falls in love?
The love triangle (Husband not included)
I find it quite funny that Mr. Pontellier is leaving the situation alone, hoping Edna’s mood will pass and she will go back to acting the way she used to. Whilst he is passively waiting for her to calm down and become the submissive and polite wife he used to know, she is betraying him emotionally with Robert and betraying him physically with Arobin. What I find most interesting though is that she does not find that she has betrayed her husband when she kissed Arobin, instead she finds that she has betrayed Robert. I used to think that she was only physically attracted to Robert, not in love with him. I also used to think that Robert was only fooling around with her. The book leaves some hints, though, suggesting that Robert cares for her or desires her deeply, so much so that he couldn’t take it and decided to leave for Mexico. This sounds like a love triangle from an American series, husband not included. Poor Mr. Pontellier, so clueless. I still don’t like him though. Another person I have come to dislike is Madame Ratignolle. She said to Edna that she might be obliged to leave her company, said it was “very risky” to be seen together in public with her now. “I shan’t be able to come back and see you; it was very, very imprudent to-day” is what Madame Ratignolle said to Edna (Chopin 130). She may be a perfect wife and a model mother, but she does not hold much value as a friend.
In comparison to the “perfect” Madame Ratignolle, I much prefer Edna as a character. Before, I thought that Edna was foolish and only getting into trouble; eventually regretting her decision. Now, however, I have thought about it more and believe that she should carry on being herself. Who cares about conforming to society? Be brave. The awakening to her true self seems to be doing her good as well. She seems much happier, much more vivacious, and much more complete as a person than before. “Every step which she took toward relieving herself from obligations added to her strength and expansion as an individual” (Chopin 127). I still agree with Madame Ratignolle when she said; “You seem to act without a certain amount of reflection which is necessary in this life. That is the reason I want to say you musn’t mind if I advise you to be a little careful while you are living here alone” (Chopin 130). Edna is not being careful enough; I am afraid that something awful will happen to her (since frankly awful things always happen in novels when things are going relatively well) because of her new personality. Frankly, the passage “’There was a graven image of Desire/ Painted with red blood on a ground of gold’” sounds very ominous to me (Chopin 121). Is it some sort of foreshadowing? Or maybe it’s a metaphor? Why was this passage specifically chosen? It sounds like a warning to Edna.
The whole dinner ordeal reminds me faintly of “The Last Supper”. I do not mean to insult anyone by comparing Jesus to a woman in the midst of having her desires awakened, rather, I mean that in both there is a meal with several people who are very close (the obvious connection), and both have a rather ominous tone as well because one knows that something bad will come later. That is where the connection ends, however. Another connection I made is that Edna reminds me of those rich girls that have everything, yet still steal, do drugs, and even rape. They do this because they are bored. “But as she sat there amid her guests, she felt the old ennui overtaking her; the hopelessness which so often assailed her, which came upon her like an obsession, like something extraneous, independent of volition. It was something which announced itself; a chill breath that seemed to issue from some vast cavern where in discords wailed…” (Chopin 120). Edna throws a glamorous and refined dinner with only a handful of people, yet she is still incredibly bored. She feels like she is not living life to the fullest. The rich girls probably feel the same. They never have to work very hard to attain something. They, too, are incredibly bored. Both they and Edna want to feel things, to experience things, before life slips by their fingers. I hope that Edna is happy and that all of her actions are worth it, although I am almost positive that she will suffer through that inevitable awful thing (there is one in all romances) Kate Chopin will divinely impose on her.
Title: “Quicker, Fiercer, More Powerful Love” (Chopin 113)
p.105 – 138
In this section of The Awakening, Edna is overcome with power, and everything so far seems to build up until these pages’ events. One of her capricious acts is that she decides to move to a smaller house, near her house geographically, but a great distance away emotionally. About her previous house, she states that “I’m tired looking after that big house. It never seemed like mine, anyway—like home.” (Chopin 107) The word house, in this quote, the way I see it, means both the physical residence in which she dwelled in with her family, and the family and people there. She means she grew tired of her family, of her husband and children, and never quite felt a connection with them. She was as ready as to escape from her family as she was to leave her enormous house.
She also confesses her love for Robert, “Because his hair is brown and grows away from his temples; because he opens and shuts his eyes, and his nose is a little out of drawing; because he has two lips and a square chin, and a little finger which he can’t straighten from having played baseball too energetically in his youth. Because—” (Chopin 110) However, he does not confess his love for Edna, at least not immediately. Upon his return from Mexico, she was greatly disappointed at the distance set between the both of them, and I was a bit upset at that as well. He later [spoilers, maybe?] explains that he did love her, but wished to keep his distance because “[…] you were not free; you were Leonce Pontellier’s wife.” (Chopin 145). However, I don’t think it was necessary for him to keep his distance, because even if, in his mind, they couldn’t have been lovers, they could still be friends and cherish each other’s company on a platonic level. Do you guys think they could have been friends when Edna wasn’t ‘free’? Do you think that Robert’s departure was completely necessary?
Edna’s and Robert’s brief, yet deep, love story reminds me of the lyrics to a song by Muse, called “Resistance”:
Is our secret safe tonight
And are we out of sight
Will our world come tumbling down?
Will they find our hiding place
Is this our last embrace
Or will the world stop caving in?
Society would judge them harshly if they knew of their story, so they had to hide away. That eventually might have been one of the reasons that led to [SPOILERS] Edna’s premature death. She had grown to be too much of a free, independent woman, to be able to keep a confined, secret relationship. Do you guys think she’d be able to stand a secret romance for too long? Now, I’m not considering Arobin, because their romance was too short-lived, and she managed to keep it secretive.
((Also, quick response to Marcia: love your title! Very witty!! ))
YOLO – You Only Live Once
pg. 105 - 139
Edna got to a point that she's living as if there's no tomorrow. As if there were no consequences to her actions. In fact, she is consciously refusing to be everything that society demands a woman to be: loyal wife, devoted mother and a sacrificed maid. "I'm going to pull myself together for a while and think - try to determine what character of woman I am; for, candidly, I don't know. By all the codes, which I am acquainted with, I am a devilishly wicked specimen of the sex. But some way I can't convince myself that I am. I must think about it (Chopin 111)." In her perspective, the standards that society holds for women are actually false, and that's why she is going against it. She is trying to find the really Edna inside of herself. She is so desperate to find it, that she even gets involved with a third man, Alcée Arobin. I find funny how she kisses Alcée and feels like she has betrayed Robert, and not her actually husband (her husband a bit due to all of the things he gave her, as this quote states, "There was her husband's reproach looking at her from the external things around her which he had provided for her external existence (Chopin 113).") However, why does Edna sleeps with Arobin if she, as she says, is really in love with Robert? I mean, Edna acted extremely impulsively due to her desire for Arobin at that moment, but couldn't she have waited until Robert was back from Mexico? Maybe she was feeling with much freedom, that she felt like she could be with any men at any time. She even moved out from the Pontellier’s house to a ‘pigeon house’ and did a ‘petit comite’ dinner before leaving the house, knowing that everyone would judge her for doing so. I mean, all of her guests were there to celebrate Edna’s departure from high society, but ironically, all of them were members of the social elite. Hypocrites maybe?
Then, Mr. Pontellier arrives from his New York business trip, and after knowing that Edna moved out from the house, the ONLY thing that he did was to write a damn letter to her demonstrating his “unqualified disapproval and remonstrance”! And of course, paid the newspaper to tell a lie about the situation, to avoid people gossiping about them. What kind of husband would only do that at that time? Not being sexist or anything, but at that period of time man were brutal with their wives and did not let do anything off standards, or else they would beat them. As I said in my previous post, Leónce is a horrible example of husband (inside standards, of course). He never knew where Edna was, or what she was doing, or if she was seeing someone else, concluding, he did not give a crap about her. “He was simply thinking of his financial integrity […] it might do incalculable mischief to his business prospects (Chopin 126).” Oh God, I hate him! Maybe that’s why Edna is breaking free.
At last, I want to remark how the word “alone” is appearing more often in the context. First in page 128, “She was again alone (Chopin 128),” and then in page 139, “She stayed alone in a kind of reverie – a sort of stupor (Chopin 139).” Before her rebellion, she had her kids with her, and her husband, and more friends. And now, she rarely sees her two sons, “had no husband”, and it left with two lovers. Edna might have won her freedom, however she lost people she may have loved one, or still loves. This was a choice she made. A life style she elected. This situation is similar to the one from the movie, “Easy A”. The main character, Olive, wanted to be seen by people, wanted to be recognized by everyone (as Edna wanted to be recognized as a woman with rights). So, one day she decided to tell a lie. But, what Olive did not know was that that lie would make her friends, her parents, and even her crush drove themselves away from her (as it happened to Edna; her kids, husband, and some friends left her behind). Sometimes, we should think about the consequences for our actions, before it’s too late.
Is Edna going to regret something she did? Or failed to do?
Who will she choose? Robert or Arobin?
Has anyone else noticed the frequency of the word “alone”?
Stuck between who she was and who she wants
Although, by chapter XXV, Edna has completely changed who she was, she still possess moral qualities which were prior to her in the beginning of the novel. However, even these morals have changed. She openly states that she married Mr. Pontellier with no love as expressed in the quote “ She did not mean her husband; she was thinking of Robert Lebrun. Her husband seemed to her now like a person whom she had married without love as an excuse.” (Chopin 104). She is hesitant now appeal more to love and passion then to the actual antiquate was of thinking of a wife being devoted to her husband. Instead, she is fearful for committing an infidelity towards Robert. This all is presented before the section to be discussed. The way she states she goes to sleep thinking about this leads to a foreshadowing, which is later confirmed.
Alcee insists with the flirtations and the temptations towards Edna, and the “inappropriate” aspect about this is that Edna confesses to be attracted to him. When Alcee kisses Edna, and Edna responds to it as “It was the kiss of her life to which her nature had really responded. It was a flaming torch that kindled desire.” (Chopin112). The kiss, as much was already foreseeable and predicted, was also shocking, being that now, there are two relationships Edna is involved which began as a sense of friendship and twirled to a more intimate a passionate.
Edna is defying the social morals previously established on her, which earlier she would be considered selfish and self-centered but now, from the romantic perspective is considered a hero for fighting for her love and liberating herself from the oppression of her feelings. This liberation also leads to a geographical and emotional separation and also foreshadows a more intense resolution for absolute break of who she was and who she wants to become.
Edna’s infidelity cannot be justified by the common reasons, of an unsatisfactory husband, but however, as the trigger of a sexual awakening. This can be connected to Balzacs’s “A Woman Of Thirty” where he relates the main character’s, Julias, passionate cravings once she reaches 30 years old. She meets a younger boy, who falls in love with her, and relates the inexplicable beauty of the woman at 30, when they reach the apse of their sexual desire. This same situation is encountered between Edna and Robert.
Also, in this section Edna announces that it is her 29th birthday. Does anyone think that the author used this age intentionaly? Is there a link between both texts? Is Chopin appelaing to Balzacs work also?
I’ve noticed many of you criticized Mr. Pontellier’s attitude in his letter to Edna towards her moving out, but we cannot censure him (don’t get me wrong, I am really unsupportive of superficial people). We are talking of an extremely shallow man who is handicapped by a lack of jealously and has absolutely no comprehension of what passion really is. Thus, he never considers his wife might have undertaken this decision to free herself from him or, especially, that she might be having an affair. Not to mention that, after his conversation with Dr. Mandelet, he is more secure that Edna is just temporarily delusional and given society’s standards during that time, it was uncommon for a woman to leave her husband so suddenly and abruptly. Anyhow, there was something else in this same character which I noticed with great interest. As Edna went to visit her children, she was "giving them all of herself, and gathering and filling herself with their young existence" (Chopin 128), which contrasts with what she had told Madame Ratignolle, “I would give up the unessential […] but I wouldn’t give myself” (Chopin 64). Now she was giving all of herself, but she was getting in return her children’s youth and vitality. Which brings me yet to another topic; Edna treats her marital subjects in a somewhat childish manner, with comments such as “[…] the fairies would fix it all right” (Chopin 128) and that “Conditions would someway adjust themselves […]” (Chopin 108); like I mentioned in the previous post, Edna’s attitudes now indicate that she is more focused on the experiences than their consequences.
I would also be very glad to comment on one of Bernardo’s questions: How come Edna’s new house which is supposed to symbolize freedom is termed “pigeon house”, a synonym for cage?” Well, on the very first page of the book, I feel like the parrot was meant to symbolize Edna. Complaining for everyone to “Allez vous-en [Go away]! Allez vous-en [Go away]!” (Chopin 1), the parrot must ask for everyone to leave when it would rather just fly away on its own; along with that, the bird not only spoke Spanish, French and English but also “[…] a language which nobody understood […]” (Chopin 1) symbolizing her new awakened self, something that only she could comprehend. Now Edna is moving to a “pigeon house”, a small birdhouse to keep domesticated pigeons. Thus she will be permitted more freedom, but will still be restricted by society’s and Robert’s expectations.
As I examined chapter 30 I supposed it was full of symbolism, so I scrutinized every passage. Something I noticed from the beginning was that Chopin began mentioning the colors “red” and “yellow” with unusual frequency; “[…] splendor conveyed by a cover of pale yellow satin […],” “[…] burning softly under yellow silk shades; full, fragrant roses; yellow and red […]” (Chopin 117), “[…] weaving a garland of roses, yellow and red […]” (Chopin 121). And the moment Gouvernail murmured “There was a graven image of Desire/ Painted with red blood on a ground of gold” (Chopin 121) I not only connected blood with the color red and gold with yellow, but I also remembered a movie I recently watched. “The Other Boleyn Girl” tells a tragic story of passion, desire and intrigue that ends in a great tragedy. The quote mentioned by Gouvernail references desire as a “graven image” yet also as something “painted with red blood on a ground of gold”, destined to end in catastrophe. Although a striking, golden catastrophe. In “The Other Boleyn Girl” this connection between passion and a loyal tragedy is evident, and very moving. I also noticed how Chopin’s reference to “roses, yellow and red” (as she described with the exact same words twice in the chapter). Roses are a known symbol for passion, and the colors in this case are symbolizing blood and gold, once more indicating a painful finish to love and desire. With this I would also like to answer one of Marcia’s questions; yes, this is definitely foreshadowing, and a metaphor (which I have just explained above). Relating with other passages Chopin has left as hints for Edna’s future, I hypothesize that this is foreshadows a great tragedy in Edna’s life and her feelings for Robert.
Questions: Even though it might not be of great importance, on chapter 27 it really caught my attention the fact that Edna realized Robert was returning from Mexico even without reading his letter. How did she know? Does it have somehting to do with Mademoiselle Reisz's music?
What affect do you think Mademoiselle Reisz is having on Edna?
I have been questioning Edna's love for Robert quite a lot, do you also think that maybe this love she speaks about has become more of an obsession for keeping her new awakened self more vivid, (given that in her mind, Robert was the one who "awakened" her as she mentioned to him later in the book)?
Lover vs Womanizer
Chapters XXVI - XXXIV
In these chapters, Edna has certainly changed even more. I would not say that she is still as rebellious, but she definitely does not care anymore about her husband. It is not stated that she dislikes he or does not love him, but quiet on the contrary, Chopin chose to not mention Mr. Pontellier's name at all, as to make the reader forget about him, and lessen his importance. Another change one could notice was Edna's mood. She changed from sad, depressed, and hopeless, to loving and happy. This could be perceived when "It was with a wrench and a pang that Edna left her children." (Chopin 128). Edna showed that even though she has repelled from her husband she has tightened bonds with her children. Nevertheless the greater focus for me was the change of personality and impression I had on Alcée Arobin. Until the end of Chapter XXV I saw Arobin as a lover, someone who had the potential to be a special person for Edna, one she truly liked. Just to clarify, its been long since I disqualified Edna and Mr. Pontellier being together until the end of the book. My two greatest guesses were Robert and Arobin. But Arobin has gone from a that loving, passionate person to just a womanizer. That fact was initially pointed out by Mademoiselle Ratignolle when she said: "it wouldn't matter if Mr. Arobin had not such a dreadful reputation. Monsieur Ratignolle was telling me that his attentions alone are considered enough to ruin a woman's name." (Chopin 130), later that is bestowed and proven to Edna as she questions him "Is that one of the things you always say to women?" (Chopin 139) and he promptly answers "I have said it before, but I don't think I ever came so near meaning it," (Chopin 139). Here I fail to picture him with a sincere, passionate and honest face, instead, I see Arobin looking with a false "pleading puppy" eyes, and then producing a sly smile when turning away because he felt he was successful when seducing her. I have created a personal hatred for Arobin, specially when he interrupted the conversation between Robert and Edna. For me, he acted there, as a devil, out of pure evil, no good intention of loving jealousy. If he were jealous at all, it would not be because he loves Edna, but simply because he has lust for her. Finally, Robert's comeback was quiet a cliche for me. It was more than expected that he would return, and it would be even more expected if Edna and Robert ended up together.
What are Arobin true intentions?
Does Robert truly love Edna?
What will become of Mr. Pontellier after he founds out about everything? (Edna kissing Arobin, and Edna loving Robert)
Hey Edna, go after your freedom!
Two important events happen in this part of the book: Edna moves to another house and Robert arrives. As to regards the first one, it was very sudden and with little planning, “There was no moment of deliberation, no interval or repose between the thought and its fulfillment” (Chopin 114). Edna, in a “feverish anxiety”, left the place that she never felt was her home and that certainly reminded her of the burden of her obligations (Chopin 113). Edna moving into a smaller house that she bought with her own money has a major importance to the plot since it illustrates her strive for independence and freedom. The Pontellier’s house may be considered the physical representation of Edna’s old self, and by moving away from it she detaches herself a little more from the old Edna. Also, Mr. Pontellier’s response, which consists only of worries with his finances and appearances, indicates that he finds his business more important than his wife, to Edna’s delight. Furthermore, Edna’s new personality can be easily perceived as described on 120, “There was something in her attitude, in her whole appearance […] which suggested the regal woman, the own who rules, who looks on, who stand alone” (Chopin 120). Another significant quote is a comment made by Mademoiselle Reisz, “The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth” (Chopin 112). Which of these outcomes will be Edna’s? I wonder if she will be strong enough or if she will ‘flutter back to earth’.
As to regards Robert’s arrival, Edna’s expectations were very high, but nothing extraordinary happened. Robert’s words and looks were very “few and meager” for Edna’s “hungry heart” (Chopin 139); she expected there to be an outburst of feelings upon his arrival, which did not occur. In addition, Edna’s comment that “some way he had seemed nearer to her of there in Mexico” made me think that maybe, in her mind, she created a fantasy about Robert, but that the reality is not consistent with it (Chopin 139).
Questions: Why did Edna kiss Arobin if she knew Robert was coming soon? What did Arobin mean by “There are so many inquisitive people and institutions abounding that one is really forced as a matter of convenience these days to assume the virtue of an occupation if he has it not” (Chopin 118-119)? How deep and intimate is Arobin and Edna’s relationship? On page 13, Edna regrets that “it was not the kiss of love which had inflamed her”. Does that mean that she wanted Robert and not Arobin to have ‘inflamed her’ (Chopin 113)?
In response to Bernardo’s question of “Who do you think Edna will end up with?”, I think she will end up alone. When she is alone she feels good, independent and free, and “she had resolved never again to belong to another than herself” (Chopin 108).
In chapter XXXII, Edna visits her children. When she goes back to town and leaves them behind, the description of her feelings reminded me of a movie I saw in History class. In the movie, Olga, a German communist jew, gives birth to her child in a Nazi prison and has to give her baby away. Even though Olga’s case is much more bitter, both mothers feel devastated, miss their children terribly and keeps a sweet memory of them, “It was with a wrench and a pang that Edna left her children. She carried away with her the sound of their voices and the touch of their cheeks” (Chopin 128).
Another connection that I made was with the Beatle’s song “Hey Jude”. It is as if this song is Edna’s inner voice, who encourages her to do as she wants and to go after her freedom. The lyrics contains an undefined pronouns, ‘her’, and in Edna’s case, it could mean freedom. The ‘sad song’, or ‘it’ is Edna’s life. Here is a piece of the song:
(remember to think of ‘it’ as life and ‘her’ as freedom)
Hey, Jude, don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better
Hey, Jude, don't be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better
Hey, Jude, don't let me down
You have found her now go and get her
Remember (Hey Jude) to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better
"Young, wild and free"
Even though it was a short section of the book, we were able to figure out how the author is trasmitting how Edna is changing, not only her way of thinking but her actions itself. One thing I thought it was really interesting was how Edna is showing that she is really being affected by the awakening. The author presented in the book the drastic change of Edna, and even the character itself makes this message clear to the reader “One of these days... I’m going to ull myself together for a while and think, try to determine what character of a woman I am; for, candidly, I don’t know. By all the codes which I am acquainted with, I am a devilishly wicked specimen of the sex. But some way I can’t convince myself that I am. I must think about it.” (Chopin 111).
The author is presenting many foreshadowings through the text, at this point of the story, he presentes the awakening of Edna not only through her feelings, actions and way of thinking, but through sexuality. Kate Chopin does not present a clear message about it, instead he uses foreshadowing in order to make the reader wonder and find out the message by itself.
The more I read the book, I wonder if it really is a feminist book. Mr. Reinz pointed out the wings from Edna, and not only through this section of the book, but during the entire novel, I wonder how did society view her actions and how she changed. Since we are getting to the end of the book, who do you think Edna will end up with?
I will connect this section of the book with the song “Young, Wild and Free”. The title of the song says by itself, and I think that Edna is living the way she thinks is the best for her. The song says “So what we get drunk, so what we smoke weed, we’re just having fun, we don’t care who sees...”, and that is what is happening with Edna, she does not care about the ones around her, she is just living her life.
Here is the link of the song for those who are interested:
More than one
It seems to me that Kate Chopin is trying to distinguish love from pleasure. Is it possible to be completely satisfied emotionally and physically in a relationship with someone you are madly in love with? Can we have it all? I'd like to believe so. Is it possible for someone to be truly happy in a monogamous relationship? This book got me thinking about this a lot. When people aren't satisfied with their relationships they seek out for new experiences instead of terminating the relationship because it has become a commodity. I'm not specifically referring to sexual dissatisfaction because people are also dissatisfied emotionally and often seek someone else to give them attention and love. And if it is impossible to have it all with one person? Should we oblige to societies norms? Why? Why have we been raised to believe that we have a soul mate. Just ONE soul mate. Are we destined to one particular person?
I feel sorry for Edna. Her husband doesn't make her happy and neither do her lovers! What's the point of having an affair if it isn't going to bring you satisfaction? Arobin is devoted to her but Edna's soul doesn't cry for him. "It was not the kiss of love which had inflamed her." (Chopin 113) He is merely a toy that Edna keeps around in order to attend her needs. Robert, who I thought would only be vivid memory of a passion once lived, has become the love of Edna's life. Edna is stuck in a relationship that provides her pleasure but no emotional satisfaction and is lost amongst her feelings for Robert. Robert's return left a lot to be desired. There is silence, a space between their feelings. Robert is sending very mixed signs. Will he ever act upon his feelings? In my eyes Robert is being childish and cowardly. If he has feelings for Edna this would be the perfect time to demonstrate them.
Aside from all this confusion Edna did one thing right and that was buying her own house. "She had resolved to never again belong to another than herself." (Chopin 108) Now Edna is truly independent she is making her own money and living in her own house. In a way it is as if Edna got divorced. Of course at that time divorce probably was the end of the world for a couple's social life but Edna doesn't care about that. Since she doesn't depend on Léonce I don't see her going back to their old house soon or ever.
My connection is to a Brazilian song called Mulher by Projota. The beginning of the song is about a woman that left everything hanging and walked away to clear her head. Just like Edna suddenly decided to move leaving her old life behind her. She didn't care about her husband's opinion about it. A few chapters ago Edna was walking alone trying to find things or people that reminded her of Robert and now Robert is back. The woman in the song walks around town and ends up at the singers house. The rest of the song narrates what I think Edna would have liked her reencounter with Robert to be like. The woman surrenders herself to her love and gives herself to the man. He missed her as much as she did and he treated her in such a passionate, tender and kind way, probably how Edna would have liked to be treated by Robert.
Chapters 26-34 - Indecision
During one of the visits to Mademoiselle Reisz`s house, Edna tells her that she made the decision to move to a small house where she would live by herself. I was honestly really surprised when this was revealed because I never thought Edna would go this far. She is obviously really upset and done with her husband after all these years of oppression. Once she moves, Edna believes she will “like the feeling of freedom and independence” (Chopin 81). When asked for the reason behind this decision, Edna doesn`t quite know yet. The only thing she knows for sure is that “she had resolved never again to belong to another than herself” (Chopin 81). This act reminds me of the modern disagreements between couples where both parts decide to “call a time-out” from their relationship. The new Edna is definitely way ahead of her time. Later on, Edna admits to Mademoiselle Reisz that she is in love with Robert: “‘Yes,’ said Edna. It was the first she had admitted it” (Chopin 82). This is obviously not a surprise to the reader, but it is really important for Edna because she let out something trapped inside her for a long time. Chopin confuses the author, I believe, purposely once Arobin kisses Edna: “when he leaned forward and kissed her, she clasped his head, holding his lips to hers” (Chopin 84). Will Edna form a relationship with Arobin even after admitting her love for Robert? A few chapters later, Robert comes back from Mexico and meets Edna. She is obviously shocked: “she attempted to rise; she could not have done so without betraying the agitation which mastered her” (Chopin 98). They are filled with joy by meeting after a long time and their conversation lasts for a while. However, Arobin shows up and ruins everything. He “drops a bomb” and angers Robert, which leaves the house rapidly. Now, will Edna put an end to her “friendship” with Arobin? Will Edna pick Robert or Arobin?
Blog Entry #3: Chapter XXVI-XXXIV (26-34)
This blog of pages follows Edna as she begins carrying out the final stages of emancipation from her husband. She becomes somewhat financially independent and establishes residences away from her former home. These actions strain her relationship and marriage with Leonce from bad to lost. Edna’s past life of compliance is shameful to her as is the fact that she does no help sustain the house financially causing her decision to move out. She takes up residence in the pigeon house and is pleased with it because it does not bring up memories of her former life, especially when she commits adultery. Her affair is with Arobin who is more concrete than her abstract and idealized love Robert. Edna still does not strike me as one hundred percent sure or stable yet but is not afraid of taking the initiative. An important thing I came to realize about Edna is that while she is independent it does not appear that she takes much pride in being a woman. I believe the quote, ”She drank the liquor from the glass as a man would have done” (Chopin 106) is Chopin’s was of hinting that Edna’s true aspiration while probably subconscious is to be a man, when I say that I do not mean masculine. To her and the society she lives in being a man means independence, and that is why we find Edna doing things she deems manly or unwomanly. When Robert returns she seems to realize that she over idolized him and that he no longer represent change and the new but the return to her former lifestyle and the old, quickly making him less attractive to her even while she remains in love with him.
Does anyone else think that Edna might actually want to be a guy?
Edna could be connected to Marilyn Monroe who achieved recognition by taking clothes that were thought manly and making them sensual and adding feminine traits to them. Edna also finds the need to do things she deems manly probably to call attention and demonstrate her liberty.
As more I read the story, the more I get curious. Edna's attitudes are intriguing. This women for more depressed and lonely that she feel her behavior is confusing. At first she announces to Mademoiselle Reisz that she will move to a small house, claiming that she will be more independent and free. Although, I don't believe that these are her only intentions on moving to a pigeon house. As well as I'm concerned, I consider that Edna moving to a smaller house may be a foreshadowing for her getting even more depressed and unhappy. "Mademoiselle, I am going to move away from my house on Esplanade Street." (Chopin106). Second, when Robert surprises Edna, who has been back for in town for two days, I felt that Robert wasn't happy with Edna around. There were many signals: he only came to visit Edna the day before he arrived and he didn't kept his promise with Edna on writing for her when he was away, giving an excuse to her. "Do you remember that you promised to write to me when you went away? A flush overspread his whole face. I could believe that my letters would be of any interest to you. Thats is an excuse; it isn't truth." (Chopin 133). Consequently, Edna begins to doubt his love over her. I just couldn't identify any reason why Edna would be suspicious about Robert's love over her, since she was the one that cheated on him, although she was right. However, as Robert sees photograph of Alcée at Edna's, he also gets suspicious about Edna. I suppose that this event may symbolize a foreshadowing for Edna and Alcée relationship. Also it reminded me, on a commercial for a gas station where the husband leaves the house for a minute, although when he comes back, his wife is cheating with five men. However he doesn't bust her wife since the all men were all hiding. In that case the husband would be Robert, the wife Edna and the five men, Alcée. "He picked up a photograph. Alcée Arobin! What on earth is his picture doing here?" (Chopin 134). As the story continues, Alcée appears on the scenario. "How do you do, Arobin? said Rovert, rising from the obscurity" (Chopin 137). At first Robert is fine with Arobin, although he gets furious Robert leaving the house rapidly, thinking that Edna is easily seduced knowing Arobin reputation of being a womanizer, making Edna also think that Robert doesn't love her anymore. Right there I could realize how low were there self esteem.
Who will Edna pick? Robert or Alcée?
Will Robert return?
Is Chopin is trying to confuse the reader, making Alcée appear in Robert and Edna's relation?
How does Léonce fits on this?
As more I read the story, the more I got curious. Edna's attitudes are intriguing. This women for more depressed and lonely that she are, her behavior is confusing. At first she announces to Mademoiselle Reisz that she will move to a small house, claiming that she will be more independent and free. Although, I don't believe that these are her only intentions on moving to a pigeon house. As well as I'm concerned, I consider that Edna moving to a smaller house may be a foreshadowing for her getting even more depressed and unhappy. "Mademoiselle, I am going to move away from my house on Esplanade Street." (Chopin106). Second, when Robert surprises Edna, who has been back for in town for two days, I felt that Robert wasn't happy with Edna around. There were many signals: he only came to visit Edna the day before he arrived and he didn't kept his promise with Edna on writing for her when he was away, giving an excuse to her. "Do you remember that you promised to write to me when you went away? A flush overspread his whole face. I could believe that my letters would be of any interest to you. Thats is an excuse; it isn't truth." (Chopin 133). Consequently, Edna begins to doubt his love over her. I just couldn't identify any reason why Edna would be suspicious about Robert's love over her, since she was the one that cheated on him, although she was right. However, as Robert sees photograph of Alcée at Edna's, he also gets suspicious about Edna. I suppose that this event may symbolize a foreshadowing for Edna and Alcée relationship. Also it reminded me, on a commercial for a gas station where the husband leaves the house for a minute, although when he comes back, his wife is cheating with five men. However he doesn't bust her wife since the all men were all hiding. In that case the husband would be Robert, the wife Edna and the five men, Alcée. "He picked up a photograph. Alcée Arobin! What on earth is his picture doing here?" (Chopin 134). As the story continues, Alcée appears on the scenario. "How do you do, Arobin? said Robert, rising from the obscurity" (Chopin 137). At first Robert is fine with Arobin, although he gets furious leaving the house rapidly, thinking that Edna is easily seduced knowing Arobin reputation of being a womanizer, making Edna also think that Robert doesn't love her anymore. Right there I could realize how low were there self esteem.
Who will Edna pick? Robert or Alcée?
Will Robert return?
Is Chopin is trying to confuse the reader, making Alcée appear in Robert and Edna's relation?
How does Léonce fits on this?
Chapters XXVI- XXXIV (26-34)
This growing passion between Edna and Arobin truly surprises me, and as I read the following chapter I kept thinking; well that escalated quickly. It’s obviously different from the relation between Robert and Edna as it seems they both are only satisfying their sexual desires. Edna seems to recognize this and ignores Adele’s warning that rumors said “his attentions alone are considered enough to ruin a woman’s name” (Chopin 97). I can’t really blame Arobin for what is happening because it’s what he is used to, that’s what he does and everyone knows it. Edna is awakening hidden desires within herself but the only one she had now is Mr. Playboy. She can’t control her situation and seeks for freedom. The fact she left the house was that she wanted to be able to take control of her environment, something she couldn’t do at her house because she still feels like her husband would control her. Regarding Roberts’ come back, I’m really glad that he is holding his feelings in order not to cause problems to Edna, but I also believe he is wasting his time. Edna still can’t understand the fact that he wants to protect her, even if she were to cause problems to herself, she is doing it out of free will, while Robert probably wouldn’t stand the idea that he is the cause of her problems. He should look for someone who can love him and only him (even better if not compromised) and stop this relation were the only thing he can do is make excuses that even Edna can dismantle as seen in this passage: “I couldn't believe that my letters would be of any interest to you.", "That is an excuse; it isn't the truth." (Chopin 99).
Last summer I read a novel called “The Meditator”, by Meg Cabot. It’s about a girl, Suze, who can see ghost and helps them solve unresolved issues. She is a bit rebellious like Edna and falls in love with a ghost. It was not a rule they couldn’t fall in love but what future could they have? Jesse (the ghost) decides to distance himself from her because they can’t have a future together, just like Robert did. At the same time, a new guy named Paul (a type of boy that gets what he wants) comes into the story and gets in love with Suze for her different way of acting, which matches Arobin’s act. She kind of accepts his attention but still thinks about Jesse. There’s more to the story but I think I’ve spoiled enough. In the same way Suze and Edna had to go through sorts of barriers that imprisoned them in the society, and they are determinate to overcome them.
Estranged for her so-called "vulgar" and "morbid" work, Kate Chopin was a writer far ahead of her time. Click here to visit the Kate Chopin International Society.