Loss of Self and the Struggle for Individuality in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening


  • Öznur Yemez Karadeniz Technical University


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.


Chopin, Kate. The Awakening and Other Selected Short Stories. Serenity Publishing: Australia. 2009

Chodorow, Nancy. “Family Structure and Feminine Personality.” pp. 44-60

Chodorow, Nancy. “Oedipal Assymetries and Heterosexual Knots.” Social Problems, 23.4 (April, 1976): pp. 454-468. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.

Chodorow, Nancy. “Toward a New Psychology of Women by Jean Baker Miller.” Contemporary Sociology, 6.4 (Jul., 1977): 479-480. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.

Coser, Rose Laub. “Why Women Do the Mothering? The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender by Nancy Chodorow.” Contemporary Sociology, 8. 4 (July, 1979): 537-538. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.

Filene, Peter G. “Integrating Women’s History and Regular History.” The History Teacher, 13.4 (Aug., 1980): 483-492. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.

Giles-Sims, Jean. “The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender by Nancy Chodorow.”Journal of Marriage and Family, 41.2(May, 1979): 437-438. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.

Heuston, Sean. “Chopin’s The Awakening.” The Explicator 64.4 (2006).

Johnson, M. Miriam. “Chodorow: Passionately Hooked on Psychoanalysis Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory by Nancy Chodorow.” Contemporary
Sociology, 19. 6 (Nov, 1990): 805-806. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
Killeen, Jarlath. “Mother and Child: Realism, Maternity, and Catholicism in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.” Religion and the Arts 7.4, (2003): 413-438.

Meyers, Tietjens Diana. “The Power of Feelings: Personal Meaning in Psychoanalysis by Nancy Chodorow.”Journal of American Sociology. 106.3, (Nov., 2000): 850-852. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.

Taheri, Semira. “Feminine Quest for Individuality in Beowulf and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.” Journal of Texas English Studies; 2.2 (2011): no page. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.

Schweitzer, Ivy. “Maternal Discourse and the Romance of Self-Possession in Kate Chopin's The Awakening.” New Americanist Revisionists Interventions into the Canon 17.1 (1990): 158-186. 14 Dec. 2012.

Streater, Kathleen M. “Adele Ratignolle: Kate Chopin’s Feminist at Home in The Awakening.” The Midwest Quarterly, 48.3 (2007): 406-416. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.

Slobin, Kathleen. “The Power of Feelings by Nancy Chodorow.”Gender and Society 15.2 (Apr., 2001): 317-318. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.




How to Cite

Yemez, Öznur. (2013). Loss of Self and the Struggle for Individuality in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 1(1). Retrieved from https://nalans.com/index.php/nalans/article/view/3