Kate Chopin. The Awakening. Romanticism The exotic locale, use of color, and heavy emphasis on nature Edna's search for individuality and freedom : freedom to decide what to be, how to think, and how to live Rebellion against society Other prototypical romantic elements of the text:
Middle and upper-class women were still expected to stay at home as idle, decorative symbols of their husbands' wealth.
They were, as Virginia Woolf termed it, expected to be angels in the house.
They were pregnant frequently due to the restrictions on birth control.
They cared for their homes, husbands, and children, played music, sang, or drew to enhance the charm of their homes and to reflect well on their husbands.
Wives were possessions, cared for and displayed, who often brought a dowry or inherited wealth to a marriage.
They were expected to subordinate their needs to their husband's wishes.Social context
1890s: The women's movement begins to gain a foothold on American society. However, women still do not have the right to vote, and women's issues were not part of the political platform.
Today:Women have had the right to vote since the passage of the Twenty-second Amendment to the Constitution in 1920.
1890s:According to the law, a married woman's property belonged to her husband, even if she had inherited land before being wed. If she later divorced her husband, the land would still be legally his.
Today:Women have equal legal rights to property, and divorce cases usually conclude with at least half — if not more — of a couple's possessions going to the wife.
1890s:Advice columns for women had their beginning. With the advent of Dorothy Dix's column in 1895, advice columns appeared in newspapers and provided a forum for discussion of women's issues.
Today:Not only do publishing companies print women's columns in newspapers, but they also dedicate entire magazines to women's issues.Compare & contrast
Expected to answer her husband’s request, “unthinkingly,” as befits the “daily treadmill of life”