Loss of Self and the Struggle for Individuality in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening
Using Chodorowian terminology, the present study deals with The Awakening, in which Kate Chopin questions the concept of feminine personality, loss of self, vision of womanhood, male oppression of women, mother-woman and female quest for an individual personhood. Therefore, the paper argues that male-dominated society legitimates the victimization of women, creating a sense of selflessness through objectification of the female gender. Being exposed to overwhelming responsibilities from a very young age, women commence to lead a life considered to be precious merely within masculine parameters and are manipulated, both physically and spiritually, by the male ideology. Patriarchy cruelly condemns and destroys women who gradually regain a sense of self-consciousness and reconstruct the fragmentations of their identity. So as to exemplify the issue, the female protagonist of the narrative, Edna Pontellier, is dealt with from a psychoanalytic perspective, applying Nancy Chodorow’s principles on feminine personality and the conceptualization of self.
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