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Questions

1. Chopin’s argument is that no matter how far we go to achieve our goals, we will always feel a
lack of accomplishment and turbulence. Edna is put into a position where no matter what she
does, she will always feel emptiness inside of her. Whenever she conforms to gender roles by
society, she feels she is being held by chains, but whenever she gains a small piece of
independence, she feels there is nothing she is working towards. Chopin’s work informs the
reader that society is always playing mind games onto people, because no matter what they do
they will always be unhappy.
2. Chopin is making this argument in 1899 to strike up conversation about the totalitarianism of
gender order that affected how women felt. Even if this book were controversial at the time,
increasingly, people realized the misogynistic ideals that put women into an endless spiral of
inferiority. She wanted to convince men and women that there are many potential ways to live
life, and that forcing individuals into certain boxes is unethical and a violation of their mental
health.
3. The most influential character was Mademoiselle Reisz, who serve as a muse of an independent
woman. Reisz is often portrayed by others as sad and pathetic, but she is a happy because she
doesn’t care what other think and from this Edna learns not to think how others want her to
think, but rather to think on her own behalf. Her most direct and influential moment in the story
was when she told Edna that to become an artist she must be brave and that an artist must have
a courageous and defiant soul. Although her words were partially used by Edna at the end of the
story to justify a suicide, Reisz’s defiance behind her phrase were important for Edna to feel a
sense of independence and aliveness in the meantime, being able to refuse to do things she
does not want to do.
4. How Edna conforms outwardly while questioning inward is based off her perception. On the
outside, Edna feel the need to conform to be accepted by society, however, in her thoughts she
wants to live a life of independence without torment for doing so. The story shapes mind
prisons, when no matter how she feels, she will always be stuck in a cage of social order, never
allowed to break free in the way that men can. The mental prison that Edna is in creates a never
ending journey away from her inevitable fate, causing her to resent herself and society
increasingly. The reader gets the message that social roles are always forcing people to do
things they do not want to do creating oppression and psychological violences. Society is not
just some innocent means of life but rather a toxic way to shape the environment that will
always lead to bad things for people.

Female Characters
Contribution to work. How does this character’s status,
Characters Relation to Motif position, and life choices compare to
Enda Explain the motif – part Edna’s? Is her lifestyle indicative of
of society Chopin what Edna envisions for herself?
Support your answer with at least two
criticizes pieces of textual evidence
Madame Good Friend Society’s Chopin is criticizing When Edna describes Adele as
Ratignolle Expectations that no matter how a perfect iseal of feminine
much people like Edna beauty, she is the ideal Edna is
of Women expected to live up to. When
work, there will always
the tells Edna not to move out,
be an insecurity of
she tells her to meet gender
someone being better. roles.
Mademoiselle Good Friend Independence The portrayal of When Reisz plays the piano,
Reisz Reisz criticizes how she brings Edna to an
emotional feeling of knowing
individuals even try true passion, something that

independent person. lose their social When the women never talks. it is ironic that not to be. “The Lovers” Acquaintances Young Love The couple shapes When the couple are in Edna’s Edna’s hope in dating hammock. Chopin is criticizing the When Edna sees Mariequita toxic idea that women flirting with Victor. she is made of it is inherently signaling to Edna to even bad good to do. teaching having nothing. . and Edna’s ideas that nothing can that looking towards be made better. the are she contributes to her own under a feeling of lack of individuality. she is themselves telling Edna that true passion dependent on social comes form living as an structures. to meet society’s stretches way beyond the expectations. Edna sees love as the cure for grievance. meeting society’s expectations. message that living up to one and that once people life goal will end up poorly. When creating a better future Madame Lebrun raises her or whatever can be children on her own. that is the become lovers before feeling Edna grows fonder of all of the house work. he won’t give any in no way does she affection to Mariequita think for herself. because of her lack of dignity. they couldn’t have Robert. Edna through example that the only thing one can choose whether or not to have after social acceptableness is independence. she symbolizes the one’s self-worth into depression she feels through at the Lebrun loss. experiences do occur. When she say to Edna that an how people make artist must be defiant. that they can a care in the world other than for each other. Madame Acquaintance Futurism Madame Lebrun When Madame Lebrun Lebrun (Mother of contributes to a notion widows her husband. it is best not to let others down. “Lady in Acquantance Grievance The Lady in Black is a When the woman only wears Black” (had vacationed notion that putting black. and closed boundaries of society. When they are in leaving a meaningless the lady in black’s presence as life without love. she knows should have to receive Mariequita in no way is validation form other meeting her own needs nor people. she that the status quo can manages the cottages on Robert’s) Grand Isle conflicting with be made better. which gives Edna the house) one social idea is bad. Mariequita even though Robert has confessed his love to many has no respect because women. with Robert as the story Chopin is criticizing progresses. they always are. Mariequita Acquaintance Loss of Dignity Mariequita serves as When Robert describes an example of what Mariequita. conformity.

she is piling duties Family onto her without taking a idealogy that created second to realize the nurse Edna’s conflicts in the may feel about this given story. allowed to be anything other than her race. Whenever the nurse is how society forces even referred to as a people into labels “quadroon nurse” she is without understanding dismissed for her race and not them as people. Chopin criticizes work. The Male Characters Section is on the Pink Sheet . Quadroon Nurse of the Social Boxes The social boxing of Whenever Edna leaves the Nurse Pontellier the quadroon nurse quadroon nurse to take care contributes to the of her kids.