Literal Analysis

Literal Analysis

Many activists, scholars, politicians, wealthy and poor people have always invested in activities and initiatives that advocate for the rights of women and equality between men and women. These efforts have also seen many scholars write about this topic and highlight key aspects and facts about feminism. The main purpose of this essay is to enable critically analyze one of the themes presented by a renowned scholar in one of their writings.

The Awakening, This is a book written by Kate Chopin which focuses on themes such as Love, Marriage, Family, Art and Culture, Women and Feminism.  This book shows the struggle of women with the societal views on feminism and gender roles such as motherhood. The welfare of women is not put into consideration at all as they are regarded as the weaker gender in the society.

A theme such as gender roles has been illustrated. The societal view about females is that women should never go out of their marriage to satisfy their sexual desires. Any woman that does that has no place in the society. Any affair outside marriage is considered unholy for women. Women are supposed to be a housewife who is restrictive. Eventually, Edna gradually develops some feelings for another man named Robert who she starts to flirt with. They spend time together while at the beach and this simple, harmless relationship develops into something complex and that concerns her husband Pontellier (Chopin, Kate, and Margo Culley). She suddenly starts to develop the urge for independence yearning to be more than just a wife and mother.

The theme of women and femininity is major them and is extensively depicted in this book, and this is the theme I choose to analyze as illustrated in this book, Edna Pontellier is one of the major characters of this book and through her and her endeavors. At the start of the book, we meet Edna, polite and obedient wife and mother on vacation with her husband and kids.

Edna wishes to have a career and have financial and sexual freedom. The expectations and restrictions imposed on Edna Pontellier in this book are primarily based on her gender. She is expected to be an obedient and polite wife and mother. She is not expected to disobey her husband or any other man out there in any form. As a woman, she is also expected to keep her marriage in place and not have any side eye. These are rules and expectations that Edna is forced to break because of her undying urge to realize her full potential as a woman.

As much as this book is fiction, there is the ability to relate to the issues women go through even today. Women should, however, be given an opportunity to express themselves in all areas without any bias on gender.

Chimamand Adichie is another great writer who extensively discusses the topic of gender in her book “We should all be Feminists”. I choose to use her book as a lens to analyze the theme of women and femininity derived from Kate Chopin’s writings. Adichie says that gender is not an easy conversation and most people are uncomfortable and sometimes even irritated to talk about the subject (Adichie, Chimamanda N). Both men and women are resistant to talk about gender and quickly dismiss the problems of gender. Adichie states that Feminism is part of human rights in general but choosing to use the vague expression ‘human rights’ is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender (Adichie, Chimamanda N). It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.

This is a subject depicted by Edna in Kate Chopin’s book. Edna in motivated to fight all the barriers that hinder her from her from attaining her full potential as a woman and will stop at nothing. Adichie tries to explain that the problem is not being human, but specifically about being a female human. For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups (male and female), and it proceeded further to exclude and oppresses one group (that is the women) (Adichie, Chimamanda N). In The Awakening, the societal structure of the Victorian Era decreed that a woman was only fit to be a wife and a mother, but Edna broke this notion by being artistic, financially stable and sexually free. This brings about her ‘awakening’ she eventually runs counter her society’s notions of womanhood. This raises great conflict between the individual and the social restraints and even makes it harder to measure the relationship between self and society appropriately.

From both texts, we identify that some men feel threatened by the idea of feminism. Feminism and the idea of women ‘rights’ triggers a sense of insecurity in most men and hence making it hard for these men to accommodate or digest the idea. Both girls and boys are raised differently and different perceptions of life due to the societal notions within which they are raised. In most societies, masculinity is linked to major duties, wealth and prosperity hence sidelining the woman and forcing her to wait and just be provided for. Adichie explains that the gender roles that we raise our children in are hurting for the boys (Adichie, Chimamanda N). She offers a unique definition of feminism for the modern world that is rooted in inclusion and awareness. Through Edna’s encounters and her awakening, we can see how much women are willing to trod beyond borders and attain their full identity and potential. Feminism, as illustrated in these two texts has the major role of encouraging the women to wake up from the old notions that they have been raised in and be ambitious and successful.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate, and Margo Culley.The Awakening. New York: Norton, 1976. Print.

Adichie, Chimamanda N. We Should All Be Feminists. New York: Anchor Books, 2014. Print


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