Edna Pontellier-The main character and protagonist in The Awakening. Edna is a middle-aged woman who seems to be unhappy with her relationship with her husband Leonce, whom she has two kids with.
Leonce Pontellier- Antagonist in The Awakening. Leonce is a business man, and Edna Pontellier’s husband. He realizes that his wife is distant and isn’t like the average “mother-woman”. Leonce seems to constantly be away on business trips.
Adele Ratignolle- Edna’s best friend. Adele is seen as the perfect “mother-woman”. Adele is Edna’s opposite.
Robert Lebrun- Edna’s love interest. Robert is known for fawning over a different woman each summer. Robert fawns over Edna but his feeling seem to be more sincere. Robert helps inspire Edna’s “awakening”.
Mademoiselle Reisz- Musician that Edna looks up to. Edna is inspired by Reisz and is moved to tears when she plays piano. Robert writes letters to Reisz about his feelings for Edna which is Enda’s only way of hearing from Robert. Reisz is my favorite character because she portrays an artistic, independent women.
Alcee Arobin- Another love interest of Edna’s. Edna met Alcee at the horse races. Alcee has a bad reputation with married women. Alcee and Edna create a relationship together but for Edna its purely physical and she has no feelings for him.
Doctor Mandelet- The doctor Leonce goes to when he begins to worry about his wife’s strange actions.
The Conflict in The Awakening is partly internal and partly external. The major conflict that the main character, Edna Pontellier, faces is the conflict of societies standards of a women vs. what Edna wishes to do with her life. Through the story, Edna isn’t portrayed as a normal woman. During this time in the story, women were to care for their children and worship their husbands, but Edna starts to feel as though she doesn’t want to live as the ideal women. Her husband sees this and tries to put a stop to it through medical help, but it is no use. Edna also must battle herself and chose between her urges and what she knows is supposed to be done.
At the end of the book, when Edna drowns herself in the sea, it is apparent that she could find no other way to solve her conflict, and the conflict is left unresolved. Reaction I overall didn’t really enjoy the book because of it’s depressing atmosphere. Although I didn’t like the book I did like the portrayal of Edna as a woman that doesn’t fit into societies standards and the morals the book shows of how forcing someone to be something that don’t want to be could be harmful. I probably would not recommend this author to anyone just based off of the experience I’ve had from this book. I don’t really think this book was meant for someone of my age group or grade level, and that may have played into my lack of enjoyment.
Overall, I thought that the book was confusing sometimes with the amount of detail, and some of the events that played out. I also think some of the themes were confusing because they were meant for a more mature audience.
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