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Anna Higgins

Ms. Renner
English 12AP
October 19, 2015
Gender Criticism

Women in the past have had many struggles of equality, and in the case of
the novel The Awakening, the main character Ms. Pontellier is not given the
respect of a person as she should. For these reasons, her and many other women in
history have become unhappy in their homes or marriages. Ms. Pontieller is treated
as a slave, she is not content with this lifestyle, and for this reason she begins
venturing out of her marriage.
Wives in earlier times were often treated more as property, than as a person.
They were not allowed to have any rights, yet they were expected to take care of a
household. Although our main character in this story did not do much tending to her
house or even her own children, she was still not given necessary affection and
wasnt always a priority in her husbands life. Women began to feel unappreciated,
and felt as if they were more of a servant than a slave. More than 50 percent of all
married women, at some point, cheat on their mates, says Weil, so husbands should
never be too cocky that their wife won't stray. "You have to be on the alert that at
any moment you could lose your partner, says Dr. Bonnie Weil on ABC family
today article on affairs and stay at home mothers. Women were not given any
rights, in or out of the home, but were expected to abide by all the rules.

Women in these positions were not happy. They were not given any rights,
yet they were expected to abide by all the rules and for this reason, many became
restless and unhappy in their homes. When the women didnt feel appreciated or
loved in their home, by their husband or children, they may begin venturing out of
the marriage. Studies show that 30-60 percent of stay at home moms will have an
affair at some point in their marriage (Dr. Praver, Phsychology Today).
Women may stray from their marriages, as a result of these things. Like Ms.
Pontieller began to fall in love with another man, (Chapter 4). Because they are not
happy or treated with respect, women may stray from marriage and many affairs
are a result of this. Women may not be getting the love they need and desire,
because they are treated more as a servant than a wife.
In this novel, it is displayed how women were not treated fairly in this time
period for many different reasons. This is the explanation for why many marriages
failed, and why many women were not happy with their lives. This information, and
examples in this novel, show the importance of gender equality; if women are not
treated as equal people, as they deserve, they will at some point react and display
the tragic repercussions of these actions.

Works Cited
Praver, Frances. "Why Women Have Secret Lovers." Psychology Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct.
2015.
Chopin, Kate, and Margaret Culley. The Awakening: An Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism. New
York: Norton, 1976. Print.
Weil, Bonnie. "Who's Likely to Cheat?" ABC News. ABC News Network, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.