During the 19th century, the time period presented in The Awakening by Kate Chopin, women were said to have had restrictions places on them that left them without the right to be an individual. Edna Pontellier, the main character in the novel, was a woman who was trying to come to means in her life “sunken” with these restrictions. In the end, however, she committed suicide because she considered herself to be deprived of this freedom. Yet, Edna Pontellier was not a hero for taking her own life away; instead, she was a coward, whom the townspeople viewed as abnormal. She was not a significant figure to all women because of her poor treatment towards her children, towards her husband, and because of her desire for other men.
Edna Pontellier’s behavior toward her children was viewed by society as being unethical. She did not neglect her children, but her participation in their lives was unconcerned and apathetic. She never did take on the full responsibility of being a mother; a nanny was often left with the Pontellier children, and never did Edna take care of them herself. Edna’s husband even recognized the situation, for he approached her saying that she was not a good mother. She tried to reverse the situation by bawling her eyes out, but it was her neglect of the children that caused her husband to say anything of this matter. There was no justification for Edna’s neglect of her children because her best friend, Adele Ratignolle, was the perfect housewife: she lived her life for her children, always keeping them cared for, clothed, and educated. Adele also had the same
restrictions put on her as Edna did, yet she was able to keep up with the care of her children. In fact, if it was the not the mother’s duty to attend to her children, then who’s was it? The husband had the task of providing for the family by working, which certainly left him no time to care for children. Edna Pontellier was in no way a hero because she could not even care...