Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Awakening

A psychoanalytic critcism would focus on Freudian concepts such as the the Id and Ego; it would be based on how the Ego, logical and conscious mind, represses the Id, unconscious desires and thoughts. Authors would use this repression in their novels to reflect the universally repressed desires that is all within us. This is proven by a psychoanalytic critic Holland because he says "authors create works that appeal to our repressed wishes and fantasies" [p.508]. Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, explamplifies this clearly whereas the main character, Edna, goes through a series of struggles with her inner self. Edna was grown to believe the society's standard for a woman for she was just a classic housewife who meekly submitted to her husband and raised her children. This was all challenged when she met Adele, a woman who opened her inner eyes and Robert, who released her sexual, repressed needs as a women.

The time setting of this novel takes place when women did not have much power; their identity rested with their husbands and children. Therefore, Adele opens Edna's inner romantic and youthful desires because she is very open to romantic the supressed childish romance. After Edna started to think about herself and her desires within her, she started to act differently towards her husband. "She wondered if her husband had ever spoken to her like that before, and if she had submitted to his command". She started to question her obeidience to him and her identity without him.

Throughout the middle of the novel, one can really see how Edna fights her inner sexual and femine unconscious needs. Freud quotes "..that natural urges, when identified as "wrong", may be repressed but not obliterated..." [p.504]. This is proven through the reoccuring thoughts and violent actions after the realization upon her wrong feelings for Robert. She "takin[takes] off her wedding ring, flung it upon the carpet. when she saw it lying there, she stamped her heel upon it, striving to crush it."[p.70]. She fails to fight her wrong fantasies about Robert, and since the desire is still there, she takes it out violently on her ring instead. A psychoanalytic critic such as Freud would point out how she gets angry for these wrong and unconscious feelings. Through Edna, Chopin expresses this repressed feminine need. Women are such emotionally hungry creatures that one man's half hearted love is not enough to satisfy them. Every woman yearns to be longed for so much that they have the desire for an affair to receive that extra attention. It fills their human need for excitement and youth as well as their need to be captivate a man.

1 comment:

  1. The blend here, with this book, between feminism and freudianism is quite clear--if you continue on with this or with works like it you might want to go back to the feminism and gender and subjectivity sections of our book and have a look at some of the essays that make an explicit connection between the fields. They can be very helpful with the thinking you're working on here.