Constraints That Society Has Placed on Women

Essay by jenjones1901University, Bachelor'sA+, December 2002

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This is an analysis of The Awakening by Kate Chopin. This is an 11 page paper. It also includes a works cited page with 8 references. The paper examines the link between the contrainsts seen being placed on women in 1800's and constraints that women are still facing in today's society. Looks at the claim that sexuality occurs naturally but gender is constructed by society.


In The Awakening, a novel by Kate Chopin, the representation of women during the late nineteenth century has many similarities to the idealization of women today. I see this as a problem because this novel was written over a hundred years ago. Although we have made great strides toward equality, there are still many people that believe a woman's place is in the home, tending to her children and pleasing her husband. These beliefs are at the core of inequality both then and now.

All women have options available to them, but they have always had to consider what those choices will do to them socially. Even today, women have to be afraid of what their actions will do to them socially whereas men do not.

The Awakening, published in 1899, takes place in Louisiana during the late nineteenth century. The novel focuses on Edna Pontellier. She is a twenty-eight year-old women struggling with the constraints that society has placed on her. The novel shows Edna's gender construction by the society that she lives in, based on Chopin's portrayal of her in the novel trying to obtain independence and control over her life in a society where she is expected to have none. Women like this are looked upon badly in a society that expects a woman to be a good mother and wife, nothing more or less. When she...