The Oppression of Women Women have always been oppressed someway or another, and never seem to be understood. In the novel The Awakening, the males, such as Robert, Dean's father, Dean's husband, and Alice Robin, all try to control Edna, but do not realize that Edna wants to be a strong, independent woman. Robin tries to manipulate Edna into thinking that she needs him. Robert wants Edna to be his wife, but he does not understand her. Dean's father and husband think that she should be a proper lady, and try forcing her to be someone that she is not.
All Edna wants is freedom, but she Anton get it with all these men in her life trying to control her. In The Awakening, Edna wants freedom, but due to the oppression from all of the male characters in her life, she is unable to find it. First of all, one of the reasons that Edna feels so oppressed and trapped is at the fault of Alice Robin. He basically tries taking advantage of women, and Edna Pointillist posed as a perfect target for him to try to manipulate.
When Robin finally gets Edna, he tries to keep her in his possession, mainly by always wanting to see her and be around her, as seen in this quote, "He espoused at once by presenting himself at her home with all his disarming naiveté©. And then there was scarcely a day which followed that she did not see him or was not reminded of him. " (Chopin 48). This is also keeping her having freedom, as he is forcing her to seem him, and making her think that she needs him. Secondly, Dean's father, the Colonel, has a strict mentality, causing him to hold Edna to a very high level of discipline.
This is preventing her from getting the freedom that she wants. "Edna heard her father's voice and her sister Margarita's. (Chopin 116). This quote is from Just before she dies, showing the struggles that she had had with her father. Dean's father always tried to control her, and even attempted to make Mr.. Pointillist more controlling towards Edna, giving her even less control. Muff are too lenient, too lenient by far, Leonie," asserted the Colonel. "Authority, coercion are what is needed. Put your foot down good and hard; the only way to manage a wife. Take my word for it. " (Chopin 71).
When the colonel comes to visit, Edna starts acting like a 'proper' suffice should act, due to the fact that she wants her father to believe that she is playing her role as a woman, as he would be very upset if he knew what she were really like. "She would not permit a servant or one of the children to do anything for him which she might do herself. " (Chopin 69). This clearly shows how much the oppression of her father has an affect on her, as it makes her become a different person that she does not want to be. Also, Robert Labeler can be blamed a lot for taking away the freedom of Edna.
One of the main reasons for this is that he wanted conventional wife, and he feels like the woman should have the average duties of the average housewife. He finds out that he can never be with Edna, as she does not want to be his wife. "l forgot everything but a wild dream of your some way becoming my wife. " (Chopin 108). Robert is hoping that Edna will leave Leonie and be with him, but he does not realize that Edna wants to leave Leonie because she does not want anyone to control her, so that she may have freedom and can express herself. Therefore, Edna being with Robert would be no different from Edna being with Leonie.
Robert realizes how he was oppressing her into being with him, and back away. Dean's freedom was threatened by Robert hoping to be with her, so she tried fending him off. Finally, one of the most oppressive men in the novel is Dean's husband, Leonie Pointillist. He thought of women as only useful for supporting their families needs. "He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother's place to look after children, whose on earth was it? He himself had his hands full with his brokerage business. " (Chopin 5).
This quote wows that Leonie thinks that it is Dean's responsibility, and not his own, to care for their kids. A lot of this had to with the time period, pertaining to how society thought wives should act. Mr.. Pointillist very selfishly forced Dean's occupation to be work at home, whilst his occupation was his business. Mr.. Pointillist never asks his wife about her opinion on things, or even how her day went, yet on page 5 it states that "He thought it very discouraging that his wife, who was the sole object of his existence, evinced so little interest in the things which concerned him and valued so title his conversation. Mr.. Pointillist expects his wife to be in awe of him and his words, yet very often he does not even acknowledge her existence. Also, Mr.. Pointillist thinks that the people living in his town will scorn him and his business will be ruined if the townspeople think that his wife is out of control, like he thinks she is. This is another reason why he has to force her act like a proper lady should. Dean's lack of responsibility for her kids, odd pastimes such as her art, and want for freedom could really mess up Lance's image; therefore he tries to oppress Edna.
In the novel The Awakening, Edna Pointillist is oppressed by nearly every male character that she knows. Right before Edna commits suicide, Chopin acknowledges how Edna is trapped and chained down by this quote; "She heard the barking of an old dog that was chained to the sycamore tree. " (Chopin 116). This shows that Edna refers to herself as a chained dog; a creature who Just wants freedom, but can never receive it due to what is chaining it down. Men will never understand her, and therefore the only real way to express herself and have complete freedom... Was to kill herself.