Transcendentalism was a major rational motion in the nineteenth Century that revolved around the thought of autonomy, independent thought, and individualism. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman were among the transcendentalists who expressed these thoughts through their literature. Kate Chopin incorporates their thoughts in her short narrative, The Awakening, to supply a review of the gender functions upheld by the society of her clip. Edna Pontellier, the heroine of the narrative, In the novel, although Edna Pontellier ‘s rejection of the social outlooks demonstrates her autonomy, she does non remain true to her newfound independency and individualism and finally loses sight of them.
The Creole society expects a adult female to be a duteous female parent and married woman who tends to the kids and domestic jobs, and remains faithful to the hubby. Leonce expects Edna to stay by this function, but Edna is non a “ mother-woman ” ( 10 ) and resists conforming. Her accustomed disregard of her house, kids, and hubby, and the unsatisfactory relationship with her hubby reveals Edna ‘s discontent with her life. Her feelings of subjugation and parturiency due to social outlooks compel her to interrupt free from the “ foolish consistence [ that ] is the hobgoblin of the head ” ( Source A ) . The foolish consistence is conforming to society ‘s gender functions, which would do Edna a marionette of society, devoid of her ain ideas. By nonconformity, she is able to get down her “ waking up ” , interrupt the bond of familial responsibility, and happen her independency, individualism, and autonomy.
To develop her newfound autonomy, she embraces picture and drawing, and moves into the “ pigeon-house ” . Through her art, she is able to travel off from her familial responsibility expected by society and set up a new life style as an creative person. She can command what she paints and show herself. This allows Edna to happen her true ego, a individual that is passionate about the humanistic disciplines. Her move to the pigeon house mirrors Thoreau ‘s move to Walden Pond and shows her development of autonomy. Similarly, Edna lives modestly by her ain agencies, independent of her hubby ‘s fiscal support. She upholds Thoreau ‘s thought that “ The expansive necessityaˆ¦ is to maintain warm, to maintain the critical heat in us ” ( Source D ) . The “ critical heat ” includes nutrient, fuel, shelter, and vesture, which are the bare necessities to populate. By populating modestly and free of material objects that contribute to the excessive life style that her hubby prefers, Edna is able to unclutter her head and do room for concentrating on happening her individualism and autonomy.
However, when Robert Lebrun and Alcee Arobin enters her life once more, she is inhibited from to the full accomplishing autonomy and strength as an person. The love affair and complacency is added to list of her necessities and she starts to divert from the exclusive “ expansive necessity [ of ] critical heat ” ( Source D ) . She starts to depend on them more to maintain her company while she is entirely in the “ pigeon house ” . She loses the independency by being possessed by passion for Robert and Alcee. She becomes overwhelmed with depression when Robert leaves her because of the limitation of society ‘s traditional gender functions and values. She could non bear his absence, uncovering the naivete and failing of Edna. Her naivete is shown by her inability to acknowledge that her actions are looked down upon by society. She did non conform to society by go forthing her hubby and holding intimate relationships with Robert and Alcee. Nonconformity is valued by transcendentalists, since it shows autonomy, but “ for nonconformity, the universe whips you with displeasure [ and ] therefore a adult male must cognize how to gauge a rancid face ” ( Source A ) . She lacks the resiliency necessary to get by with the force per unit areas of society and to stay true to her purposes. Edna is foolhardy because she does non see the effects of her nonconformity nor does she reflect upon her actions. She does non acknowledge that in world, most people abide to the social functions, such as Robert, which come back to stamp down her autonomy. Despite her rejection of gender functions, Edna does non possess “ a great psyche [ that ] will be strong to populate every bit good as strong to believe ” ( Source B ) . Her caput is muddled with ideas of Robert and Alcee and the luxury of love affair that interfered with the critical heat. She loses her independency, a polar portion of autonomy.
Edna ‘s dependance on Madamoiselle Reisz inhibits her growing of autonomy. Edna on a regular basis confides her pent up emotions with Mademoiselle Reisz and is entirely dependent on her. She is merely 1 that can let go of Edna ‘s pent up emotions and is the lone 1 that Edna will listen to. This contradicts Walt Whitman ‘s averment that “ You shall listen to all sides, and filtrate them from yourself. ” ( Source F ) . She is unable to confide her feelings with other friends and obtain their advices. This consequences in Mademoiselle Reisz being the exclusive influence on her life because there are no other thoughts for Edna to “ filtrate ” for herself, beliing besides the thought of nonconformity. Besides, her inability to confide her feelings with others leave her friendly relationship to deteriorate, such as the close friendly relationship with Adele Ratignolle. This is shown in Madame Ratignolle absence during the dinner party, the concluding measure that breaks her bond with her hubby to go autonomous. This shows Adele ‘s deficiency of support for Edna ‘s act of go forthing her kids and being unfaithful to her good hubby. Furthermore, Edna does non mind Madame Ratignolle ‘s warning of her deficiency of strength to “ rouse ” and besides shows disgust in her motherly character. Their friendly relationship weakens and loses support, opposing the importance of encompassing friendly relationship, emphasized by Whitman in his statement: “ To it the creative activity is the friend whose encompassing awakes me ” ( Source F ) . As a consequence, she fails to to the full “ awaken ” .
In the terminal, she is unable to bear the force per unit area of society to conform to the prescribed gender functions. She still have ideas about Leonce and her kids, uncovering Edna ‘s inability to go forth the gender functions behind, and about Mademoiselle Reisz jeering at Edna ‘s pretenses, uncovering Edna ‘s dependance on Mademoiselle Reisz and Robert Lebrun. Edna lacks a strong psyche to bear the effects of nonconformity, which is represented by Edna turning tyre as she swims out to sea. She lacks strength to interrupt the bondage of society ‘s gender roles that ties her down and finally fails in her effort to go independent, alone, and autonomous.
The transcendentalists ‘ thought of autonomy is portrayed throughout the novel. Edna additions her autonomy through nonconformity. But she is unable maintain it because she lacks strength, voice, friendly relationship, and independent thought, which are thoughts emphasized in the Hagiographas of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, and Walt Whitman. Edna had options to forestall intervention of her autonomy and to halt the state of affairs from gyrating out of control. She has friends and could hold confided her feelings and ideas with Dr. Mandelet, and Madame Ratignolle. She could hold continued her life with chase of art, without the chase of Robert. However, the ego trust echoed throughout The Awakening presents a fresh thought of liberating adult females from their bondage to their places.