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The Awakening

            The loathed and destructive spirit of tyranny loomed ominously above Victorian society, casting long and dark shadows on the dismal face of femininity. Shackled and constrained in a society where unjust barriers were abundant, women were forced to live under an unwritten social code of submission, without tasting the sweet nectar of true freedom. With her revolutionary novel, The Awakening, Kate Chopin depicts a heroic character that liberates herself from the suffocating fetters of this male-dictated society, defiantly challenging the prevailing traditions and beliefs by forging and abiding by her own values regardless of the scorn she will receive for behaving in ways deemed inconsistent and inappropriate. Employing the main protagonist, Edna Pontellier, as a medium of venting her own disdain and frustration of the Victorian notion of the ideal woman and expressing her own clandestine wish to rebel against it, Kate Chopin's The Awakening not just the antithetical repudiation of Victorian living but a written hope of social independence of women "a dream that will not be fully realized for another seventy years. .
             The Victorian era can be described by not only its unbridled prosperity and its elegance, but also by its strong dedication in retaining Old World customs and traditions, especially those that delineated the dualism of sexes: Males will be relegated to a world of work and social responsibility and Females will be entitled to a distinct universe of trivial domestic pursuits. Edna Pontellier, a Southern Protestant lady, initially accepts this predetermined role of passive dependence, seduced into the temptation of Victorian conformity. The stark transformation between placid submission into contemptuous rebellion can be attributed to the certain instances and events that transpired over the course of the summer at Grand Isle.

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