Adele Ratignolle vs. Edna Pontellier Essay

“The Awakening” by Kate Chopin is a novel that successfully portrays the life of women in the late eighteen hundreds. Women at that time had very particular rules of etiquette they were forced to follow. In “The Awakening” the main character, Edna Pontellier, believed that she should have free will to do what she wants, and not have to follow the proper etiquette that all women follow. Most of the females in the novel, like Adele Ratignolle, took pride in being women and followed the roles that the men in their society had made for them.

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Chopin effectively created two characters, Edna Pontellier and Adele Ratignolle, to illustrate the “rebellious” and “conforming” women of the late eighteenth hundreds. The motherly Adele Ratignolle was portrayed as the opposite of the independent Edna Pontellier. Adele was an excellent wife and mother to her family. Adele would risk everything to make sure that her husband and children had happiness and good lives. Taking care of her family was Adele’s top priority. She looks forward to satisfying her husband and providing for her children. Adele always advised Edna to do what was best for her family and socially accepted . She also listened to Edna’s problems and comforted her during those hard times.

Adele was Chopin’s example of a perfect wife and mother. Edna was an “unsatisfactory” women and mother. She considered her children to be a burden. She did not dote on her children like all mothers were expected to. If one of Edna’s children fell they would pick themselves up and carry on, unlike most children that would run to their mother and cry. Adele was a very nurturing and passionate figure that completely contrasted with Edna Pontellier.

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