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7 what kind of mother is edna what kind of artist is she

It would be simple enough to accomplish marvels of cooking and housekeeping if that were the chief end of life. It is when one attempts to combine the useful and the ornamental - to be a Dresden statuette in the parlor and a reliable range in the kitchen - that the situation becomes trying, and calls for genuine ability. Yet this is what we expect of the average American wife, merely as a matter of course. She must be a paragon of domesticity, an ornament in society, a wonder in finance and a light in the literary circle to which she belongs.

Robert Shulman argues that Carrie is part of a system which commodifies people and makes human relations into mere exchanges of goods. Because Kate Chopin's The Awakening was first published and written in the same era as Dreiser's novel 1899and because the same American capitalism pervaded the lives of Chopin and, thus, Edna Pontellier, it is worthwhile to construct an argument which focuses on Edna's commodification and its effects, which include, ultimately, her self-inflicted death.

Shulman, in his essay entitled, "Dreiser and the Dynamics of American Capitalism," evaluates the cast of characters in Sister Carrie in terms of their relationships to one another as objects and possessors of objects.

Shulman says that "Marx and Lukacs on the basic processes of commodification or reification provide a related way of understanding the divisive pressures of American capitalism. Such is the case with Edna Pontellier, the main character whose various "awakenings" to her selfhood we follow in Chopin's novel: Edna is a "waif amidst forces. In order to prove Edna's susceptibility to these forces, they must be specified and analyzed within her situation.

The expectations of women in her culture and society were explicit: One of the many etiquette manuals of the time offers women advice on how and why to successfully maintain all of these expectations: Another qualification to which Edna does not conform is the requirement that she "receive" guests in her home on a certain day of the week. Your callers are, in a measure, invited guests, and it will be an insulting mark of rudeness to be out when they call.

Why, Belthrop could buy and sell us ten times over. His business is worth a good, round sum to me. In an essay entitled "Creole Women," by Mary L.

Shaffter, which actually reads more like an advertisement of women than an essay, she states that "Creole women, as a rule, are good housekeepers, are economical and industrious. They have accepted their lot, they attend to their homes, they make their cheap dresses with their French taste and wear them with the grace of a grande dame.

Edna certainly does not keep house very well. Pontellier tells a doctor that she lets it "go to the dickens. Such figures, lithe yet full, such shapely heads, with crowns of glossy black hair, such a clear olive complexion, and great dark eyes, which speak before the arched red lips.

Thus, it is expected that they present an aesthetically pleasing facade to society in order to be accepted. They are also advised to teach their daughters early on how to maintain this facade, this "object" nature: Especially are the girls the object of much solicitude.

Above all their beauty must be preserved, their hands and feet, their glossy hair and white teeth must be cared for. Such was the fate of the Creole girl; to be primped, dressed, and made-up until she was a suitable "piece of personal property" IV, p. Along with the commodification which American capitalism has inflicted upon Edna and her contemporaries, Mr.

Pontellier clearly subscribes to this system and personally tries, whether subconsciously or 7 what kind of mother is edna what kind of artist is she, to make Edna and his children do the same. His wife, to him, is clearly not a person with agency or individual needs and respectability.

He "had been a rather courteous husband so long as he met a certain tacit submissiveness in his wife. At the beginning of their marriage, Mr. Pontellier "fell in love, as men are in the habit of doing, and pressed his suit with an earnestness and an ardor which left nothing to be desired. He himself had his hands full with his brokerage business. He could not be in two places at once. It could be said that he objectifies his children as well; they are there because they serve a purpose: Because she is human, Carrie experiences the exchange relation as creating 'a tie of affection.

Pontellier's "ties of affection" with his children and, to a certain degree, with his wife, which demonstrates his inextricable involvement with and promotion of the capitalism that has served him well. Pontellier sees that his wife has been out in the sun a while, he says, "'You are burnt beyond recognition,'.

Later, when the Pontelliers are in bed, he is discussing the day's events with Edna and she is "overcome with sleep. 7 what kind of mother is edna what kind of artist is she "thought it very discouraging that his wife, who was the sole object of his existence, evinced so little interest in things which concerned him and valued so little his conversation.

Pontellier does not, arguably, consciously desire to objectify and mechanize his wife and children. He simply knows no other system of running things; he has lived with commodification and profited from it his whole life. As John Carlos Rowe states, Leonce is not a 'cotton broker' in the old sense, but a commodities broker who deals primarily in futures. He sees money as having value within itself and therefore is indubitably a victim of American capitalism. The 'reification-of-wife' system seems to work so well for Mr.

Ratignolle and so many others whose wives who have assumed their 'duties' with a glowing smile and a similar ability to quantify and make good use of the people around them: He cannot relate to her awakening selfhood and dismisses it as mental illness or some sort of emotional trouble that he cannot hope to understand.

He merely hopes that his 'machine' gets 'fixed' soon enough so that it will not disrupt their social standing. Edna exists as a commodity not only to her society and to her husband; she also serves a purpose of exchange with Robert Lebrun and with Alcee Arobin. Both of these men are clearly depicted by Chopin as womanizers.

They have both also come into money without truly earning it, which demonstrates the difficulty relating to one's product of labor or, thereby, one's wealth: The relation between production and consumption has been obscured and so has the role human labor plays. Both Robert and Alcee, while 'rescuing' Edna temporarily from the objectification of her husband and family, place her in a new category of commodified worth: Once they have become tiresome, died, or gone back to their husbands, these women no longer fulfill their role as vessel for pleasure and attention.

Edna cannot be defined by them in terms of herself, only in terms of their changing need for her. Edna, however, begins to realize or imaginein the beginning of the novel, that there is something more than an object beneath her surface.

She begins to blatantly refuse to accept the role society, her husband, and her children have given her, one which takes no notice of her inner desires, passions, artistic tendencies toward expressions of self.

In an essay which confronts the changing roles of women in society, entitled "Are Women Growing Selfish? The woman who makes a slave of herself, gets a slave's pay in contemptuous indifference. No man ever cared for the thing that groveled at his feet, and those women have been best loved who have stood up for their rights.

Edna's awakenings and attempts to connect with or create her 'self' take various forms. One such attempt manifests itself within Edna's physical being: Long before she has sexual relations with Alcee or passionate physical interactions with Robert, Edna begins to recognize her own flesh as something that does not belong to her husband or her children.

In The Awakening, what kind of mother is Edna?

Rowe argues that, for a woman at this time, it is always someone else who possesses your body, and such 'possession' already signifies something other than your body: This desire to shed materiality and her 'self' as a commodity is visible in the interactions with her peignoir.

She takes it off or puts it on at various times, according to who is around her and what they want her to be. Even the reader is not fully privy to how Edna is discovering herself and removing robes of objectification, as Rowe recognizes: Utterly unlike Dreiser's Carrie Meeber, whose body is nothing but her clothes or the gazes of others in which she assumes form, Edna experiences her body in scenes that are remarkable for their refusal of the reader's own gaze.

She can no longer stand to stay clothed in an image which other people have assigned to her. Another significant attempt to throw off conventions and objectification is through her painting. She paints more and more consistently throughout the novel; at first she tries to realistically portray Madame Ratignolle and fails, at least in terms of Madame's own perception of the portrait: But it was a fair enough piece of work, and in many respects satisfying.

Pontellier evidently did not think so. After surveying the sketch critically she drew a broad smudge of paint across its surface and crumpled the paper between her hands. It seems she lacks the courage or self-assertion to portray people as she sees fit, no matter how they view her work afterwards, and to formulate her own opinions of her art. Later, Edna becomes more and more involved with her painting, targeting her father and her children.

7 what kind of mother is edna what kind of artist is she becomes more clear that she has none of the "artistic courage" that Mlle. Reisz tells her she must have in order to be an artist. She asks Madame Ratignolle's opinion of a painting, knowing all the while that her opinion is "next to valueless.

Chopin chooses Edna's teacher's name to be "Laidpore", and laid means "ugly" in French. Edna clearly lacks the talent, the courage, or both, to become a successful painter. She will not succeed in expressing her inner self via this method.

It is revealing, however, that she felt compelled to try, and also that she "had reached a stage when she seemed to be no longer feeling her way, working, when in the humor, with sureness and ease.

And being devoid of ambition, and striving not toward accomplishment, she drew satisfaction from the work in itself. She does not wish to sell her art to other people or see it become popular and monetarily valuable; what she 'values' is the very process of creation, the passion and expression of self that cannot be effectively married with a commodified self or a commodified art. Another option which is presented to her is music; its passionate, self-nourishing, and non-capitalistic qualities are introduced to her by Mlle.

Reisz's rendition of the Chopin piece, Edna was merely "very fond of music. Musical strains, well rendered, had a way of evoking pictures in her mind. With the onslaught of Mlle.

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Reisz's playing, however, Edna's "material pictures" IV, p. She finally experiences passion: Perhaps it was the first time she was ready, perhaps the first time her being was tempered to take an impress of the abiding truth. Reisz's marvelous enactment of it.

The correlation between the composer's name and the author's pseudonym her actual name was Kate O'Flaherty is, of course, no accident. Perhaps there was something of the "Romantic tradition" IV, footnote about F.

Whatever the correlation, Edna's self is finally aroused. She is shedding concreteness, objects, material things, the idea that she herself is any kind of 'commodity'.