For much of America's past, the words freedom, equality, and independence have been a significant part of what makes America have its history. The war of independence between America and England and the Civil War between the North and the South for freedom of blacks are two examples. The women's rights campaign in the early part of the 20th century and the fight for equality for African Americans in the 1960's are other examples. Yet the quest for freedom entails winning over possession, something that is portrayed in Wide Sargasso Sea and The Awakening. The characters Antoinette Rochester and Edna Pontellier strive fruitlessly to overcome being someone's possession in order to have true freedom, a state in which they can be their own individual and not abide by society's standards.
In The Awakening, the 19th century Creole society in Louisiana has a rigid set of expectations and proper etiquette that a high class woman is supposed to follow. Edna Pontellier is clearly not the epitome of the Creole woman, as seen on Grand Isle: "Mrs. Pontellier, though she had married a Creole, was not thoroughly at home in the society of the Creoles; never before had she been thrown in so intimately among them- (Chopin 30). It is, subtly, a way of possession "by acting a certain way, the women would satisfy what everyone expected, therefore fulfilling a "role."" In the same aspect, Antoinette was also faced with this daunting task in Wide Sargasso Sea. During her time, slave traders were condemned and looked down upon. Because of what her mother's husband did for a living, she herself was the victim of derogatory remarks and abused after the slaves were emancipated: " Look the white niggers! Look the damn white niggers!' A stone just missed Mannie's head some of them were laughing and waving sticks, some of the ones at the back were carrying flambeaux and it was light as day- (Rhys 25).