The Awakening: Concepts of Morality
The novel The Awakening, of which the author is Kate Chopin, drags its readers down into a poor mentality. The reader is shown how morals are scarcely used in common ordinance by Mrs. Pontellier. The reader is thrown from one incident of insubordination in a quarrel with Mr. Pontellier into her neglect for her children and then is heaved into Mrs. Pontelliers obsessive nature as an adulteress.
Any insight into Mrs. Pontelliers too-free-spirited nature would have ones insides turn opposite of Gods Will. From the beginning of the book, the reader sees that Mrs. Pontellier is irrational, self-obsessed, and perhaps intolerable. This image is brought on by her insistent attitude that she must have everything in the manner that she desires. Her insubordination in this society would have the denizens of the time returning quite spiteful glances at Mrs. Pontellier. A quote to help one picture the ill-willed persistence carried by Mrs. Pontellier was mentioned when the book summarizes her emotions: “She perceived that her will had blazed up, stubborn and resistant. She could not at that moment have done other than denied and resisted (P.31).” Her insistent attitude also made her self-righteous and neglectful of other persons.
In other ways, Mrs. Pontelliers morality led to a dreadful deceit of her own children. Her self-righteous mindset was damaging to her childrens vitality. The ways that she treated the children were full of neglect. As in a certain night, Mr. Pontellier returned home from work to find that one of his children had a fever. Mrs. Pontellier refused to look at the child because she stated that “He had gone to bed perfectly well . . . and nothing had ailed him all day (P.5).” Mr. Pontellier knew that his child had a fever, but could do nothing about it, and was left to ponder that his wife was a habitual neglecter of their children. He told her this and she did nothing. As a neutral detail, Mr. Pontellier had no idea what his beloved wife had on her mind.
In Mrs. Pontelliers mind hovered the ever-present thought of another man, other than her husband. During most of the story, the man that Mrs. Pontellier fancied was Robert. Robert was an intriguing man that she met during the summers that were spent at Grand Isle. She had always been fond of the man, but he showed her little interest out of respect for her marriage. Even though Mrs. Pontellier was married, she insisted on falling in love with Robert. However, during the time that she was courting Robert, he went away to Mexico. Mrs. Pontellier took it upon her self and dated another man.
In conclusion, another theme can be extracted from this book. That theme would be morality. Poor morals were harbored in much of this book and in most Mrs. Pontelliers actions and emotions. A mentality of despair appears in this book, it is sad to see a good life, such as Mrs. Pontelliers, be spoiled by a insatiable need to do only what made her feel happy.