Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Awakening Notes


Characters: Leonce and Robert (foils)

Leonce: 40 years old, knows he's better, more secure, thinks of Edna as property, indifferent about Edna's relationship on the island with Robert
note: back then, men in their 20s were encouraged to find themselves, travel, get educated, set up a business, at 30 they were then eligible for marriage

Robert Lebrun: son of Mrs. Lebrun, when his father dies, their finances go down so her friends pay her to live on Grand Isle for the summer so she can maintain their wealthy lifestyle, Edna doesn't see him as a love interest until later, slightly annoying and bothersome due to being egotistic, somewhat of a player which is normal for age, 26 years old

Characters: Edna and Adele

Edna: reserved, shy, no motherly feel

Adele: outgoing, speaks her mind, child-bearing look, mother-woman, Creole-chastity

Mother-woman: (expectation of Creole society) motherhood defines them: their child are or become their identity

character: Mariequita

Mariequita: Robert saved her the past summer from his brother Victor, who was about to rape her; no right, no status, could only be Robert's mistress, flirt, hangs out with Victor, works for Mrs. Lebrun

Characters: Adele and Mademoiselle Reisz (foils)

Adele: cares about appearances, rarely leaves house, has a large house with light and children, doesn't want to deal with real life

Mademoiselle Reisz: alone, all about individual expression, lives in an apartment which is dusty, dark and not for entertaining, forces Edna to talk about hard things, wears the same clothes, doesn't really dress up

Characters (men): Leonce, Robert, Edna's father, Alcee Arobin

Leonce: sees Edna as property (Edna temporarily accepts this position)

Robert: lover, Edna loves him

Edna's father: Edna and him aren't close but get along, very oppressive of women

Alcee Arobin: Edna doesn't like him, sexually attracted to him, shallow, does not intrigue Edna, she does not love him, fling, "fake love"

Characters (Damage Control): father, Adele, Madame Lebrun, Leonce, Doctor Mandelet

Father: tells Leonce to "reign her in"

Adele: tells her to get away from Alcee Arobin, doesn't like Edna living alone, worried about Edna's safety and security

Madame Lebrun: sent Robert away to Mexico and made it look like his choice

Leonce: buys her diamonds, plans a summer trip and puts it in the paper, renovations to the big house

Doctor Mandelet: not understand and most sympathetic of Edna, suspects Edna is "stepping out" on Leonce

Characters (not interested in Damage Control): Alcee Arobin, Mademoiselle Reisz

Alcee: benefiting from it

Mademoiselle Reisz: tells Edna to have strong wings, have to stand up to societal judgment

Characters (women and types of women): Adele, Mademoiselle Reisz, Mrs. Highcamp, Madame Lebrun, Mariequita, the lovers, the lady in black, the quadroon

Adele: mother-woman

Mademoiselle Reisz: independent, social outcast but accepted, not a wife, artist

Mrs. Highcamp: married, flirty, independent, still dependent on Creole society

Madame Lebrun: widow, gives her a little more freedom

Mariequita: Mexican, lower class, can flirt and have relationships, be a mistress to Robert or Victor

the Lovers: young, excused for being passionate

the Lady in black: widow, mourns, pious, religious

the Quadroon: nannie, black, unmarried

All of these women contrast with Edna and their situations do not work for Edna. She could not accept being in their place.


the Ocean: individuality and solitude, self-awareness, never ending, connection to childhood, enlightenment, freedom, death and fear, learning to swim=recognition of individuality, assertion of self, escape,

the Birds (owl, parrot, mockingbird): Edna and her feelings about her situation, caged (the pigeon house), inability to speak her mind, ability of women to communicate, flight=awakening and individuality

Sleep: escape (but not ultimate-she has to wake up) from reality or the prison of her life, provides refuge and revitalization, repairs tattered emotions, peace, alludes Edna sometimes, she feigns sleep-first desire for Robert (night like a dream in the hammock), allow her to awaken

Clothing: civilizing and restrictive force of society, Edna removes it-naked in front of ocean, her growing awakening and assertion of self,  white=chastity, virginity, purity, ect, also the color of summer, some women such as the lady in black do not change appearances

Art: connection to freedom, music, sketching and drawing, Robert sings a song and Edna sings it later in the book, self-expression and assertion, must have strong wings and the courageous and brave soul to be an artist, failure

the Moon: turning points, sleep (ocean, owl, sleep), revealing, sexual awakening, "white light", "strips of moonlight", romance and desire, "the first-felt throbbings of desire",
"new moon" means a new cycle and life, when the moon is absent Edna realizes that she can't have what she wants, sexual and romantic love