"The soul that dares and defies": A study of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening
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This master’s thesis is a study on Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899), with emphasis on the three female characters Edna, Adèle, and Mademoiselle Reisz. It argues that Chopin employs the novel to undermine the images of angel and monster, and provides a creative female artist that is self-reliant and who lives by her own principles, not the principles of the patriarchal society. Edna is most often seen as the feminist ideal in this novel, but I will argue that this is undermined by the text, and that it is Mademoiselle Reisz who is the feminist ideal. My argument is supported mainly by the theories of Gilbert and Gubar, Simone de Beauvor, and Rory Dicker. This feminist theory is primarily about gender as a social construction, and that women have to destroy the images of them as angelic or monstrous because these images have an impact on how women’s gender identities are being shaped. They also need to alter the belief that creativity is something monstrous, and redefine their role in society.