2 Background (handout) Author biography Social context of novel 1899 Today“fallen woman” conceptsocial class and gender relationshipssocietal response to novel
3 “local color” novelVariance of the roles of women and their relationships with men in different settingsCustoms and beliefs of Edna Pontellier’s society significant in relation to her psychological developmentAttitudes/tendencies in Creole characters in contrast with Edna’s (differences between speculation and action)References to religion – contrast in Edna, Creoles, and Kentucky Presbyterians
5 SettingNew Orleans, LASociety freer than Kentucky but still with social constraints
6 Character Study – relationship to Edna FemalesMme. Adele Ratignolle – mother-womanMlle. Reisz – her own person, misunderstood, artistLady in Black – results of love (always following behind lovers)Mariequita – affairs don’t matterMrs. Highcamp – female counterpart to AlcéeMalesLéonce – Edna married to escape her father, who was an alcoholic gamblerRobert – contrasts with AlcéeAlcée – contrasts with RobertColonel – Léonce needs to “control” his womanDr. Mandalet – intrinsically knows there is another man, but doesn’t tell Léonce
7 Literary Foils (representative of choice) There is always choice. There is seldom perception of choice. Some choice make others harder or easier or necessary.AdeleEdnaReisz
8 ImageryNatureparrot: “Go away” – Léonce wants to be left alone; Edna wants Léonce to go awayexpansive spaces: sea, meadow (freedom);confining spaces: pidgeon houseMusicReisz – plays with Edna/s emotionsEdna doesn’t want Victor to sing the song Robert sang
9 Imagery cont. Color (yellow & red) – love; anger – w/ Robert dinner with yellow table cloth; happy colordinner party & beyond when she gets closer to destroying herself, the two colors blend
10 SymbolismThe Sea (how you interpret this depends on interpretation of ending)freedom to Edna, when she learns to swim, deathBirds/Wingscaged bird or free bird; weak or strongmockingbird, parrot, pigeonSleep/DreamsEdna sleeps a lot; when sleeps in house with Léonce, she can’t sleep; sleeps soundly at a house with Robert, wakes feeling refreshed; sleeps soundly alone
11 Symbolism cont. Violets Madame Reisz’s fake violets way she moves is crippled – result of being alone?The Lovers (not married?)sooner or later, one is going to die; Lady in Black is result
12 Irony - the awakening as a trap Is it better to have glimpsed and lost then never to have seen independence at all?What choices did Edna have?Not actBy choiceBy necessityActAffair w/ RobertshunnedLeft by Léonce (no $)Leave LéonceAlone (no $)AlcéeRobertIf she remains married or with a lover, she is back to the beginning of the Awakened circle (because she is man’s perception).
13 Point of View vs. Perspective How does the point of view affect the novella?How would the novella be affected if it were narrated by Edna?Edna as HeroineEnding as result of Edna’s strengths or weaknessesEnding as victory or defeatEnding as result of other charactersEdna as a realistic character
14 Themes Rebellion (defiance vs. defiant acts) Edna Alcée Reisz Awakening (conscious vs. unconscious)understanding lacked beforeThe Definition of WomanhoodWhat qualities are valued as a woman? “home happy”?