Comparison between “The Scarlet Letter” and “The Awakening”

Social Criticism in “The Awakening”

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Social Criticism in “The Awakening”“The Awakening” is a social criticism to a profound extent in consideration of the issues that Kate Chopin portrays in the story. In an in-depth perspective, Chopin shows the deprivation of the moral ethics in the society that results in people separation as well as disintegration. In the story, Edna Pontellier is used as the central character whose life and conduct builds up the plot of the story. Edna is a mother of two and the wife of Leonce who they end up vacationing in the name of her awakening. She is depicted as an illumination of the social evils that occur in this society. The act of leaving Edna leaving her family behind in the name of independence shows the degradation of the social values in the community.

In this story, the particular social review that Chopin was trying to promote regards the erosion of social norms that lead to unethical behaviors that are threatening to the social status of people in the community. In consideration of Edna’s action of vacationing her husband who is an involved businessman shows lack of persistent and infidelity in the society (Chopin, 2017). It is also a reflection that in typical days people are much engaged in income generating activities having little time with their families which a threat to its stability and well-being. Edna’s husband who seems to be her primary antagonist in the story appears not to have time for the family that at the end makes her wife move out of their relationship to seek erotic satisfaction. Edna gets into an affair with Robert who had all the time for her as many scenarios they are both at recreational places where they get to know each other better making their affectionate stronger.

Furthermore, the amplification of Robert as a man who change women with seasons shows deprivation of the cultural customs. It postulates that the society has reached an extent where marriage issues are not taken with the seriousness that they deserve one can have affairs with anyone for anytime provided as per their agreement without considering the traditional custom of leaving together till death part or the case of legal divorce. Robert is depicted as a different person towards the end of story where he follows his instinct and cognitive of not going against the social norms by marrying Edna who already have an established family. He recognizes that the act of getting into marriage affairs with Edna will leave him guilty throughout his life a thing which will significantly interfere with his social status.

In the story, Chopin is criticizing infidelity in the community by showing its devastating effects on the family as well as the so through the illumination of Edna’s life. The awakening of Edna as the author puts it in the story is the beginning of her immorality that ruins her marital life. After staying with Adele Ratignolle, she realized that as a woman she deserved extra freedom by living alone away from her family and be free to do all the thing to make her happy. However, it becomes the beginning of her guilt and self-suffering as well as feeling as an outfit in the society. After moving to a new house, Edna gets into affairs with Alcée Arobin who could give her sexual satisfaction (Chopin, 2017). It portrays the action of adultery in the community where couples have lost the trust leading to social attrition and instability in marriages.

From the above discussion, it is vibrant that in “The Awakening” Chopin is criticizing the social immorality in the community. The story is a reflection of the today’s society and challenges facing families. It also plays an essential role in shaping and educating the present and future generation about the importance of adhering to the social values in the society.


Chopin, K. (2017). The Awakening and other stories. Dreamscape Media, LLC.