Idea of morality


In the story The Awakening by Kate Chopin, the idea of morality is discussed heavily throughout the story. I feel Edna's actions are both moral and immoral. Edna is in a complicated situation in that she is involved in a loveless marriage with a dominating man who expects her to be what he wants her to be. I think she has the right to rebel against her husband and society for forcing her to live her life according to their rules. On the other hand, Edna does cheat on her husband and abandons her children. These are immoral actions, yet necessary if Edna wants to obtain the freedom she desires. Kate Chopin shows how people struggle for freedom by doing as many immoral actions necessary to gain personal liberty and self-fulfillment.

Living the lifeas a woman in this time was a very difficult task in that being free is hard to do. Edna demonstrates this because she is living as a servant to her husband, doing whatever he tells her to do. Just like the comparison of a bird in a cage, Edna is trapped and cannot get out. Birds however have wings so the significance is that a bird has the ability to fly representing freedom. Edna is the same because she is trapped but knows that she has the ability to do whatever she wants to do. When she was swimming with her friend Robert she wanted to swim far out, farther than any women had ever swam before. This did not just have to do with swimming this also has a significance relating to life. She has the desire for freedom and she knows she is capable, but are the multiple immoral actions that she took necessary to obtain that which she feels she deserves and what she thinks all women deserve to better their lives?

Her first sign of rebellion came when she was already married and she met a man named Robert. Robert was at first harmless in that Edna and Robert were just friends spending a lot time together. After Mr. Pontillier, Edna's husband had left for work he gave Edna the freedom of relaxing and doing what she wanted while he was away. Edna's innocence slowly slipped away as she and Robert grew closer and closer together. At first they were spending more time together and it slipped into a desire to be together at any time possible. They developed feelings for each other and this is what made Edna feel free, free to not be a slave to her husband and free to be in love with anyone she wanted. This was a step towards freedom for her but it is a huge risk she is taking. If someone saw them she could be seen as a whore or someone who is irresponsible. Also if her husband found out things could get horrible for her and Robert. Later in the story Robert leaves to go to Mexico. In the story we see that Edna is upset that her friend that she was close to is leaving her for good. More importantly, she sees that her ticket to freedom is leaving her and never coming back. This will make Edna feel like a slave once more.

Edna fells upset at the sight of loosing Robert and feels she has to go back to her normal life. We see that she is not content with her children and husband and what they bring her in life. Shortly after Robert leaves Edna meets a new person whose name is Alce. He is very interested in her as he tries to seduce Edna into being with him. Edna however feels something. She likes Alce in that he is a good person but she feels that she would be cheating. Although she is married, Mr. Pontillier is not the person she is worried about cheating on, but rather her true love, Robert. Alce is another ticket for her freedom which she desires, but instead of having the thoughts she should have had when she was cheating with Robert, she has the same thoughts for the wrong person. What is clear here is that Edna feels she is free. She feels she has obtained her goal and that no man or anyone can tell her what to do. She feels she is no longer a slave to her husband and she feels she can be with anyone. Although having these feelings for Robert, she commits to Alce anyways. She is free now a bird with wings, to fly away and never to be caged again.

Her immoral actions so far have done her good. She has cheated but won, and she is happy for the first time. Now is the time where irresponsible actions turn around however. First thing is Robert is back from Mexico and is very excited to see Edna, who is her secret lover. Now Edna is in a mess where she is with someone now, has a different person coming to see her and she has a husband who she is suppose to be with. She is very upset and can't take what reality has brought her. Robert comes excepting her love and tries to get her back. Edna is confused and doesn't know what to do. She is caged again, a bird with a broken wing, and she realizes it does not matter if it is Alce, Robert, or Mr. Pontillier. Her actions have ultimately leaded to her fate of suicide. Having no reason to live, she drowns and is no longer free.

Although Edna, the character in the book, has shown that these immoral actions were necessary for her freedom, people can realize what has happened from the book. Edna felt that she wanted to be free, or die trying to be free. People need to realize that Kate Chopin intended for people to take this and see that freedom is sometimes a he desire for people. Edna might have ended her life, but her intentions live on forever.

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