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Comparing Edna in The Awakenin

            In The Awakening, the protagonist Edna Pontellier learns to think of herself as an autonomous human being and rebels against social norms by leaving her husband Leonce and having an affair. In Seventeen Syllables, Tome Hayashi, the mother in the story, becomes a writer of haiku. Her art opens a gulf between her and her husband, isolating him from his wife. In my opinion, the two women share some similarities.
             First, both of them are very passionate. Edna, in fact, is a passionate person but she lives in an oppressive society. Therefore her real nature is concealed in her deep heart until she gets married. And until she knows Robert on Grand Isle where she enjoys vacation with her family, her passion is completely awakened. Tome, when she was young in Japan, had an affair with the son of a well-to-do family and became pregnant as a result. Perhaps she knew that the social norms in Japan prevented two people from such unequal classes marrying. However she still did regardless, she is quite different from other Japanese women at that time. Second, Edna attempts self-expression through artistic activities, and so does Tome. In chapter 19, she spends a lot of time painting, and asks her two sons, the nurse, and the maid to all sit and model for her. It seems the only way she knows how to break free from the life she has been leading. Painting allows her to redefine herself and her relations to others. Tome devotes herself to composing haiku. When she makes efforts to write haiku or talks about haiku with other people, she can lays the housework aside and even forget the existence of her family members. Tome sees writing haiku as a way of self-expression and of self-assertion. Finally, marriage binds them tightly. Edna becomes torment in her marriage life so at the end of the chapter 18 by stamping on her wedding ring and shattering the vase, she expresses her feelings of being trapped in marriage and wants to break out.

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