Реферат: Wrongs Of Women And Awakening Essay Research

Wrongs Of Women And Awakening Essay, Research Paper

The following paper is in regard to Mary Wollstonecraft?s novel Maria, or the

Wrongs of Women and Kate Chopin?s novel titled The Awakenings. The two stories

have a similar plot and both discuss the oppression of women in the institution

of marriage. This paper will include how the two main characters in each story,

Maria (in Maria) and Edna (in The Awakenings) challenge the oppressive ideology

by finding a new love and how they also encountered problems as long the way.

Edna?s Marriage ?It was when the face and figure of great tragedian began to

haunt her imagination and stir her senses. The persistence of the infatuation

lent it an aspect of genuineness. The hopelessness of it colored it with the

lofty tones of a great passion.? (Awakening?s, 1026) A passion that

ultimately lost its novelty and was allocated to the shelf that held obscure yet

relaxed delightful remembrances. The tragedian keeps fellowship with a visiting

cavalry officer and an engaged gentleman. Though, in reality, the gentleman is

probably no longer engaged, he will remain so in the mind of Edna Pontellier:

one of the images of the infatuations of a ?little miss."(1026) With

respect to her marriage to Leonce Pontellier, Edna is inhibited, not with the

man himself, but with the concept he represents. When leaving Mississippi on

Leonce?s arm, she defied her family?s wish that she marries a non-Catholic.

Cast to that equation a healthy dose of flattery from her intended and their

union is as good as cemented. This is how Edna comes to be ensconced in the

inescapable institution of marriage. One would presume that the speaking of the

vows would discontinue her youthful allure, but that is not the case. Both the

holy bounds of wedlock and the remonstrations of society hail to constrict her.

Edna Pontellier experiences one last great infatuation. However, this beat upon

her soul reverberates into a feeling that far surpasses what she had previously

thought to be ?the climax of her fate.? (1026) The single-tired fantasies of

her youth are replaced with a sentiment that matures in nature as her awakening

proceeds. Edna realizes that her marriage is not making her happy anymore. She

no longer wants to be treated as property. ?You are burnt?he added, looking

at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has

suffered some damage,? (1014). Edna is upset; every thing she?s longed for

has become nothing but a joke. She soon begins her so-called ?feminine

protest? by not responding to her husband?s questions. ?She said nothing,

and refused to answer her husband when he questioned her.? (1017) She begins

to find herself by realizing her position on earth as a human being, rather then

a piece of her husband?s property. This realization is done by the feelings

her had for Robert. Robert it seems made her feel human. ?In short, Mrs.

Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human

being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and

about her.? (1022) Maria?s Marriage In the primary stages of the novel there

is not very much description of Maria?s marriage to George. The novel starts

off with Maria thinking about her child and she is in her chamber in the

madhouse. Immediately we are informed of her feelings for her husband, ?Was it

not to effect her escape, to fly to the succour of her child, and to baffle the

selfish schemes of her tyrant? her husband?? (8) Primarily, the reader is

uniformed of exactly what type of marriage was possessed by the couple. The only

aspect that is clear is that Maria?s husband was able to convince society that

Maria was mad and she was put into the madhouse and he was left with their

children and all her money and possessions. It is clear that Maria?s problem

with the marriage was that she wasn?t being treated equally, ?Was not the

world a vast prison, and women born slaves.? (11) It seems that Maria is not

bothered by her marriage being a failure; there is more evidence that she misses

her child and is deeply wounded by that fact that her baby will not grow up with

a mother as she did, ?The loss of her babe was the tender sting; against other

cruel remembrances she labored to steel her bosom;? (14). It is only later on

in the story that Maria opens up about what happened to her marriage. She

explains how they grew apart and how much of the growing apart had to do with

money, ?I tried now to improve my husband?s taste?and all the charms of

youth were vanishing with its vivacity.? (77) The commonality between Maria

and Edna is that they were both unhappy with their marriages because of the

disgraceful way they were treated within them. In Maria?s case her husband was

able to put a stop to her protest by sending her to the mental institution but

in Edna?s case she drives herself to her death before she can even be put in

one. Another similarity amongst Maria and Edna is the fact that their children

mean a great deal to them. They are both concerned with being proper mothers but

are both in positions were they are unable to meet up to their standards.

Edna?s Journey Upon the occasion of a summer escape to the Lebrun family

pension on Grand Isle, Edna finds herself the object of another?s affection.

Most of those having stayed at the pension before assure that the young man,

Robert Lebrun, is notorious for becoming a fixture to a different woman at Grand

Isle each summer. In this particular season, Edna is the sole recipient of his

company. Together, they bathe at the shore and tour the sights. Robert is a

constant companion, whether it is to retrieve a shawl or to lend himself as an

easy conversationalist. They seem to compliment each other: each experiences the

most pleasant moments when in the other?s company. Edna becomes more and more

at ease being in the company of a man other then her husband. Their intimacy is

so apparent that at least one observer wonders if something more then a

friendship is brewing. The angelic Adele Ratignolle voices her opinion that

should Robert not quit in his attentions, ?she (Edna) might make the mistake

of taking you seriously.? (1027) At this, the defendant fires back with an

uncharacteristically sharp retort: ?Why shouldn?t she take me seriously??

I hope she has discernment enough to find in me something besides the blagueur.?

(1027) From inference of remarks made about past events, we can gather that

Robert has not felt so deeply for any of the other women to whom he has attached

himself in years past. However, things may progress no further than this point

of casual friendship. Edna has always been a proprietary being. At this junction

she could not fathom a betrayal of her filial responsibilities, though she has

begun to question the state in which her life caries on. ?A certain light was

beginning to dawn dimly within her, – the light which, showing the way, forbids

it.? (1022) Maria?s Journey Maria?s journey is much longer and harder then

that of Edna?s. Since she has been denied any access to her baby and she is

put in a dismal, discouraging chamber she a great deal of irrational emotions

she had to overcome before jumping into another relationship. Besides the fact

that she was still legally married and unable to start another relationship on

the legal grounds of adultery. When Maria reads the books that Jemima lend to

her, she seems more then happy to know that there is someone in the institution

with the same tastes as she. She even ponders the thought of them being together

before they even meet or converse, ?Of what use could I be to him, or her to

me, if it be true that he is unjustly confined?? (20) It is evident that she

automatically relates to him by hearing that he is in the same boat as she is,

and she jumps to the thought of escaping together. Once again Maria is

discouraged when she realizes that she is expecting too much from this

?unknown? (20), ?She was ashamed at feeling disappointed?and how

difficult it was for women to avoid growing romantic, who have no active duties

or pursuits.? (20) Maria, at first seems to be saddened by the writing to

Darnford, it?s almost as if it brings out the wretchedness of the chamber and

her life living in it, ?Writing to Darnford, she was led from the sad objects

before her, and frequently rendered insensible to the horrid noises around

her?to the grand source of human corruption." (25) As time surpasses

Maria and Darnford begin to see each other and it seems as though Maria?s

perspective of the asylum is not as dismal as when she was first rendered there.

She begins to feel strong emotions for Darnford as he does for her. Darnford

even pursues to kiss Maria but Maria denies him the pleasure but with hesitance

in the end actually does kiss him, ?Maria stood near the chair, to approach

her lips with a declaration of love. She drew back with solemnity, he hung down

his head abashed?He took, with more ardor, reassured, a half-consenting,

half-reluctant kiss,? (34). As time goes on Maria?s story is told. How her

mother died and Maria as a newborn was left to die. It is evident that this is

tearing Maria up inside because she has now left her child (although in her case

it was done involuntarily), ?Left in dirt, to cry with cold and hunger till I

was weary.? (37) Slowly it is discovered that Maria is aware of sentimental

education and the logic of emotions, ?My uncle realized, by good luck?which

by the world are indefinitely termed romantic.? (61-62) Maria?s journey

continues with her opening up to Darnford about her marriage and what exactly

went wrong, ?The marriage state is certainly that in which women, ?had a

title to disregard general rules.? (89) As this happens Maria and Darnford get

closer and he as well opens up his feelings to her. Edna?s Love Edna?s

feelings for Robert do not graduate to the second stage. Rather, an abrupt

thrust causes the leap from appreciation of his presence to a marked yearning

for it. Following the splendid Sunday on which the two spent the day by

themselves, Edna seats herself at a dinner table at which controversy prevails.

Robert has, in the only hours he did not spend with Edna, decided to travel to

Mexico City at the request of an associate. The dinner scene illustrates each

attendant?s reaction to the news, except Edna?s. It is not until after the

strained good-bye between the two that we are afforded the full effect of her

despair. ?Edna bit her handkerchief convulsively, striving to hold back and to

hide. For the first time she recognized anew the symptoms of infatuation which

she had felt as a child.? (1047) It was to become her new companion,

accompanying her back to the mainland. More enthralled with his existence than

ever before, the longing for his presence shadows her, to which she had been

accustomed, for ?absence makes the heart grow fonder.? She rambles along the

streets of New Orleans tormented by this obsession, as if it were a fever.

Conversations and quips replay in her head. The concept that he exists somewhere

other than at her side elevates the sense of wretched emptiness. At other times

she is attacked by a wave of fatigue, a frustration that seems to know no

bounds. It comes in waves, washing all motivation from her being. Maria?s Love

Maria?s love for Darnford is quite like Edna?s love for Robert. The two

women were both in the type of love that one would categorize as ‘rebound love’.

Maria, as noted earlier, seems to have a strong interest for Darnford before

they even communicated. As they are acquainted with each other the love seems to

grow stronger and stronger even under the circumstances that they have been both

prescribed as clinically mad and they supposed to be unable to communicate on

the level that they preceded. Maria challenged the law against adultery for

women, she protested that her husband was no longer George Venables it was now

Mr. Darnford. For a woman to risk her life, of what is left of it, to be able to

be with the man she loves shows that she has a strong passion for him and what

she believes in. There was evidently some fear within them but the love seem to

eliminate it, ?With Darnford she did not taste uninterrupted felicity; there

was a volatility in his manner which often distressed her, but love gladdened

the scene; besides, he was the most tender, sympathizing creature in the

world.? (127) Her love for him is described like a scene from a poem, it?s

as if it is too good to be true, ?Poets have imagined scenes of bliss…?

(128) Maria and Darnford?s relationship is a little different now then the

relationship of Edna and Robert. There seems to be an undying passion for

Darnford from Maria and Edna seemed a little reluctant with Robert. There is

evidence that it was because of her children but also because she loved herself.

In Maria?s case she seems to only be concentrating on Darnford and their

freedom. The mentioning of Maria?s children is not as frequent as it was

before the meeting of Darnford, unlike the reoccurring mentioning of Edna?s

children. Edna?s Self Discovery You are purposely misunderstanding me, ma

reine. Are you in love with Robert?? ?Yes, said Edna.? (1075) This

initiates the final stage of Edna?s regard toward Robert: love, and all that

comes with it. From the moment she puts voice to thought, she is possessed of

senses of happiness and self-reliance. Whoever’s path happen to cross hers

notice the joyousness of her expression as she takes determined steps toward

establishment in a house of her own. Elaborate plans for a dinner party with the

theme, ?farewell to the Esplanade Street house? are set into motion. She is

a woman of action, one without regard to consequences. However, for all that is

keeping her busy, it is not firm enough to ward off that old disappointment. Of

Alcee, she thinks, ?There was the dull pang of regret because it was not the

kiss of love which had enflamed her, because it was not love which had held this

cup of life to her lips.? (1077) Even in the midst of the party itself, as she

reigns at the head of the table like a gold-sheathed goddess, the wave is

stirred. It gains in strength and pours forth until it strikes her in a freezing

cascade. It seems, the independence she has taken for herself does not make her

capable of retrieving the one thing she wants, but has yet to possess. Maria?s

Self-Discovery Maria did not have as much self-discovery to do compared to Edna.

The reason for that is, Maria was put in the institution because she was

starting to protest her status as property from the start. Maria from the

beginning knew were she stood but did not know how to do so freely. As her love

for Darnford grew, her feelings of independence did as well. Maria fought her

hardest to see that her injustice be terminated. Instead of taking the easy way

out like Edna did, Maria fought her hardest for both her and Darnford. Her baby

was still on her mind as were those of Edna but her self-discovery was that she

could love another man without being oppressed. She also realized that she did

not have to marry Darnford in order to be his wife, ?Marriage, as at

present?of women in society.? (128) Contrary to Edna, Maria sees a future

for her and Darnford without any turmoil, Edna only sees things getting worse

and is pessimistic about the relationship, believing that she will never be

satisfied. Edna?s Conclusion Edna does love Robert. She feels for him what a

girl from the plains of Mississippi had expected to feel for her husband.

However, she has grown enough as a character to be able to objectively analyze

herself and come to the wrenching conclusion that she will never be satisfied.

The constant thought of her children and how she was a bad mother will ring

inside her head forever. Eventually, another man would replace Robert, and

another after him. As a fundamentally caring person, it would have been

difficult to continue to hurt others as her self-respect eroded. Waves have beat

against the shores of this earth since the beginning of time, so would Edna be

plagued by frustrations that may well have driven her mad. As much as her heart

strains with the essence of her love for Robert, she loves herself more. This is

why a suicide is the only suitable manner in which to end this novel. If Edna

were to be no more, then the wave would strike no more. It would simply crest

and blend with the rush of foam to wash over the sandy shore and be tugged back

into the immense ?abysses of solitude.? (1022) Maria?s Conclusion Maria

loves Darnford; she seems in him what she has always longed for in a man. Since

there is no real ending to the novel, we are unaware of what happens to Maria

and Darnford. The last we know is that Maria gives a flawless speech defending

her and Darnford?s actions that in any case should have won. Maria?s love

for Darnford and herself are very apparent in her closing speech. There is no

evidence as to what she or Darnford are thinking, although that leaves us to

imagine. There are many plausible endings unlike Edna?s. In conclusion, it is

evident that the two stories have a similar plot and both discuss the oppression

of women in the institution of marriage. The two characters, Edna and Maria,

both challenge the oppressive ideology by finding new love and they dealt with

the obstacles a long the way.

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