Awakening mother-women ( Adele Ratignolle) mother-Women ( Edna

Back to Sleep: Edna's Fate

Kate Chopin's The Awakening functions as a turn of the century tragedy regarding the domesticated lot of women in American society. Its protagonist, Edna Pontellier, is forced to forsake all of the wonder, delight, and sensations of life -- those that are intrinsically hers, anyway -- for an unyielding society in which her only virtue is that of raising children and her role as a mother. That her reaction to her fate is decidedly different from that of the other mothers portrayed within the novel only serves to underscore the author's point that women must sacrifice their essential selves (their aspirations, their desires, their link to crave the very things that animate their children and which they themselves craved as children) to become credible matriarchs due to the "external, repressive force" (Wolff 449) of society. Edna was...
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