ONE BAG, ONE STORY
Listen to the ocean roar… Sea and be seen!
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Imagine the quiet sea swelling in large waves which break upon the beach…dark blue like the ocean. This New Genuine Python Snake Skin Handbag is made of genuine high quality python leather. It is a Replica Givenchy Bag with an interior in high quality suede lining, it has one inner zip pocket and two inner open pockets for phone and cosmetic and the accessories are in silver metal.
When looking at this wonderful handbag I immediately associated it to Edna Pontellier, the main female character of the novel “ The Awakening” written by Kate Chopin in 1899. Like Edna, the owner of this dark blue bag is an independent woman who likes escaping from conventions swimming away from the chains of a monotonous daily routine. The magical atmosphere created by the Python bag will make you feel attracted by the sensuous sound of the surf, by the sublime vastness of the ocean…it will make you smell rare odours like a mixture of sea smell, weeds and damp earth, together with the perfume of a field of white blossoms.
THE CHARACTER : EDNA PONTELLIER
Mrs. Pontellier’s eyes were quick and bright; they were a yellowish brown, about the color of her hair. She had a way of turning them swiftly upon an object and holding them there as if lost in some inward maze of contemplation or thought. Her eyebrows were a shade darker than her hair. They were thick and almost horizontal, emphasizing the depth of her eyes. She was rather handsome than beautiful. Her face was captivating by reason of a certain frankness of expression and a contradictory subtle play of features. Her manner was engaging. She looked handsome and distinguished in her street gown. The tan of the seashore had left her face, and her forehead was smooth, white, and polished beneath her heavy, yellow brown hair. There were a few freckles on her face, and a small, dark mole near the under lip and one on the temple, half-hidden in her hair.
Kate Chopin is of a Louisiana Creole background so she set her novel in Grand Isle an island off the Louisiana coast, about fifty miles south of New Orleans. Considered to have been a forerunner of feminist authors of the 20th century she created the character of Edna Pontellier , the protagonist whose “awakening”the title of the novel refers to. Edna is “ an American woman“, an identity that differentiates her from the Creoles around her. In contrast to them Edna’s French background “lost in dilution.” The term “American woman” evokes all the qualities that stereotypically characterize Americans: independence, boldness, and a desire to conquer new territory. Yet in the 1890s women belonging to the upper class were just supposed to be passive, dependent on their husbands and glad to stay at home. Instead, Edna’s “frankness of expression” underlies her imminent rejection of the society that she comes to feel is imprisoning her like a bird in a cage. This provide insight into her character. The twenty-eight-year-old wife of a New Orleans businessman, Edna is the main protagonist who, suddenly finds herself dissatisfied with her passionless marriage to Léonce Pontellier, she is a member of New Orleans’ upper class and she has artistic leanings although, according to Mademoiselle , the famous pianist, she can not become a great artist “because she is not focused or ambitious enough to work when depressed or in gloomy weather, a limitation indicative of her poor grasp of resolutions and endings” At the beginning of the novel, Edna exists in a sort of semi-conscious state. She is comfortable in her marriage to Léonce and unaware of her own feelings and ambitions. But she gradually comes to consider her marriage as the end to her life of passion and the beginning of a life of responsibility. She expected her dreams of romance to disappear along with her youth, but her fantasies and yearnings only remain latent, re-emerging on Grand Isle in the form of her passion for Robert Lebrun. She falls in love with this charismatic young man, who can only play-act the role of husband or lover since he does not have a brave, defiant soul, as does Edna. However this infatuation allows her to emerge from her semi-conscious state of devoted wife and mother to a state of total awareness. Through a series of experiences, or “awakenings,” Edna undergoes a significant change in attitude, behavior, and overall character throughout the course of the story “She let her mind wander back over her stay at Grand Isle; and she tried to discover wherein this summer had been different from any and every other summer of her life. She could only realize that she herself—her present self—was in some way different from the other self. That she was seeing with different eyes and making the acquaintance of new conditions in herself that colored and changed her environment, she did not yet suspect.” Becoming aware of and examining the private, unvoiced thoughts that constitute her true self “ Edna felt as if she were being borne away from some anchorage which had held her fast, whose chains had been loosening—had snapped the night before when the mystic spirit was abroad, leaving her free to drift whithersoever she chose to set her sails.” She becomes a shockingly independent woman. “the Doctor observed his hostess attentively from under his shaggy brows, and noted a subtle change which had transformed her from the listless woman he had known into a being who, for the moment, seemed palpitant with the forces of life. Her speech was warm and energetic. There was no repression in her glance or gesture. She reminded him of some beautiful, sleek animal waking up in the sun.”After her “awakening” Edna discovers her own identity but, tragically, she is too far away from the social conventions of her times so she becomes isolated from others and ultimately she experiences a state of total solitude. She is neither a flawless heroine nor a fallen woman, but she feels like a bird in a cage and her state of mind reflects upon her family. She begins to desire solitude, pushing away her husband and former friends to achieve time alone in which she can work on her art or engage in self-reflection. Being a Presbyterian from Kentucky rather than a Creole Catholic Edna is different from her husband and all her friends and she is also different from the other women who surround her, especially Adèle Ratignole, the mother-woman, eager to sacrifice her very self to her husband , children and household. Edna, on the contrary, doesn’t regret nor longs for domestic harmony since it is not a condition of life which fits her, and she can see in it nothing but “an appalling and hopeless ennui”. She is moved by a kind of commiseration for Madame Ratignolle, a pity for her colorless existence which never uplifts its possessor “beyond the region of blind contentment”. Also key in are Mademoiselle Reisz’s piano performances also play an important role in Edna’s development since they stir up great emotions in her and both feed and enflame her need for some drama in her life. Music engenders change in Edna, inciting her to experience great passions otherwise lacking in her daily life; having an instinctive attraction to adversity in love, out of desire for stimulation, she comes to a meaningless but passion charged affair with Alcée Arobin. Now awaken Edna is honest while doing what she truly feels like doing rather than what is expected of her but she never looks ahead to the consequences of her actions for herself or anyone else or how the situations she creates will resolve themselves. Only at the end of the novel, at Madame Ratignolle’s dramatic insistence, does she consider the effect of her actions on her sons.
For Edna Pontellier independence and solitude are almost inseparable: initially, she experiences her independence as no more than an emotion Yet when Edna begins to verbalize her feelings of independence, she soon meets resistance from the constraints that weigh on her active life. Although Robert’s passion is strong enough to make him feel torn between his love and his sense of moral rectitude, it is not strong enough to make him decide in favor of his love. Overwhelmed by Edna’s declaration “we shall love each other . . . Nothing else in the world is of any consequence” , he leaves a note for her saying “ Good bye…because I love you”
The note Robert leaves for her makes clear to Edna the fact that the passion he feels for her is not strong enough to join them in a true union of minds and she ultimately realizes she is alone in her awakening. Once Robert refuses to trespass the boundaries of societal convention, Edna acknowledges the profundity of her solitude. “The years that are gone seem like dreams—if one might go on sleeping and dreaming—but to wake up and find—oh! well! Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life.” Edna has definitely woken up but she is not strong enough to complete her rebellion, so she prefers putting an end to her existence sinking in the deep blue sea like “a bird with a broken wing that one day was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water.”
THE STORY : THE AWAKENING
The water of the Gulf stretched out before her, gleaming with the million lights of the sun. The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude. All along the white beach, up and down, there was no living thing in sight.
Edna had found her old bathing suit still hanging, faded, upon its accustomed peg. She put it on, leaving her clothing in the bath-house. But when she was there beside the sea, absolutely alone, she cast the unpleasant, pricking garments from her, and for the first time in her life she stood naked in the open air, at the mercy of the sun, the breeze that beat upon her, and the waves that invited her. How strange and awful it seemed to stand naked under the sky! how delicious! She felt like some new-born creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world that it had never known. The foamy wavelets curled up to her white feet, and coiled like serpents about her ankles. She walked out. The water was chill, but she walked on. The water was deep, but she lifted her white body and reached out with a long, sweeping stroke. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace. She went on and on. She remembered the night she swam far out, and recalled the terror that seized her at the fear of being unable to regain the
shore. She did not look back now, but went on and on, thinking of the blue-grass meadow that she had traversed when a little child, believing that it had no beginning and no end.
During the Victorian age women were “trapped like birds” by a limiting society, constrained by tradition and prejudice. Those who tried to “fly” . made vain efforts towards a life of freedom since they always ended into another cage like a bird that “soaring above the level plain of tradition and prejudice offered a sad spectacle fluttering back to earth. bruised and exhausted”. In the novel “ The Awakening” written by Kate Chopin in 1899, the sea is a symbol of freedom and escape, since it reminds Edna of the depth of the universe and of her position as a human being within that depth.. But this immense space carries both a promise and a threat since it represents both her strength and the lonely horror of her new psychological condition. The Awakening explores one woman’s desire to find and live fully within her true self. Her devotion to that purpose causes friction with her friends and family, and also conflicts with the dominant values of her time.
“How many years have I slept?” she inquired. “. . . A new race of beings must have sprung up, leaving only you and me as past relics.” Just like the Sleeping Beauty of the fairy tale, Edna Pontellier realizes she has been metaphorically “sleeping” for too long.
The wife of Léonce Pontellier,Edna and their two children are staying at a boarding house on Grand Isle, an island just off the coast of New Orleans. During their vacation they meets the Ratignolle family and Edna becomes a close friend of Madame Ratignolle , an elegant and charming married Creole representing the “mother-woman” who is glad to sacrifice her personal identity to devote her entire being to the care of her family and household. She behaves in a forthright and unreserved manner which liberates Edna from her previously prudish behavior and repressed emotions and desires, thus beginning Edna’s process of “awakening” and self-discovery. The process accelerates as Edna meets Robert Lebrun, the young and charming son of Madame Lebrun. Robert is known for devoting himself each summer season to a different woman, usually married, in a sort of mock romance that no one takes seriously. In the middle of the church service, Edna feels drowsy and troubled. She stumbles outside, with Robert following closely behind. He takes her to rest at the cottage of Madame Antoine, a native of the Chênière. Once she is alone in the small bedroom, Edna removes most of her clothing and washes up at a basin. Stretching out in bed she observes with a new affection the firmness and fineness of her arms, and she drifts off to sleep. When she awakens, glowing and full of energy, she finds Robert outside in the garden, alone. She feels as if she has slept for years and jokes that they are the only remaining members of their race.
Edna Pontellier, and her friend Robert Lebrun enjoy swimming together in the Gulf of Mexico and talking about themselves while sitting under a sycamore tree “Do you know we have been together the whole livelong day, Robert— since early this morning?” she said at parting. “All but the hundred years when you were sleeping. Goodnight.”
On Grand Isle Edna Pontellier also meets Mademoiselle Reisz, a brilliant pianist whose piano performances stir Edna deeply, awakening her capacity for passion and engendering the process of personal discovery. The self-sufficient and unconventional old pianist likes Edna and adopts her as a sort of protégé, warning her of the sacrifices required of an artist. When Robert and Edna become intensely infatuated with each other by summer’s end and the sudden seriousness of his romantic feelings for Edna compels him to leave for Mexico to seek his fortune, Edna is distraught and tries not to think of Robert engaging in a sensual affair with Alcée Arobin. She doesn’t love him so she only finds real consolation in Mademoiselle Reisz’s house. In fact, being the only one who knows about the love affair between her and Robert she asks Edna “Are you in love with Robert?” “Yes,” said Edna. It was the first time she had admitted it, and a glow overspread her face, blotching it with red spots. “Why?” asked her companion. “Why do you love him when you ought not to?” Edna, with a motion or two, dragged herself on her knees before Mademoiselle Reisz, who took the glowing face between her two hands. “Why? Because his hair is brown and grows away from his temples; because he opens and shuts his eyes, and his nose is a little out of drawing; because he has two lips and a square chin, and a little finger which he can’t straighten from having played baseball too energetically in his youth. Because—” “Because you do, in short,” laughed Mademoiselle. “What will you do when he comes back?” she asked. “Do? Nothing, except feel glad and happy to be alive.” However, much to Edna’s distress, when she encounters Robert accidentally, during a visit to Mademoiselle Reisz, she is hurt that he tries to maintain emotional and physical distance from her because she is a married woman. He confesses his love for her but even if she tries tells him that she is utterly indifferent to the social prohibitions that forbid their love he leaves a note for her saying that he must go away because he loves her. Edna feels herself to be an independent woman but when she Madame Ratignolle asks her to consider the effect of her adulterous actions on her children, she is realizes that her little boys will be deeply hurt if she leaves Léonce for another man. She is deeply disturbed by the thought of her selfishness in considering only her own desires. Unwilling to hurt her children personally or socially with the stigma of divorce or open adultery but realizing that she cannot return to her former life with Léonce, she travels alone to Grand Isle, announces that she is going swimming but she gives herself to the ocean waves. Like in Wagner’s opera Tristan and Isolde, the tragic love story of a married woman and a single man who can be together only in death, Edna becomes the tragic heroine of the story “As they swell and roar around me, shall I breathe them, shall I listen to them? Shall I sip them, plunge beneath them, to expire in sweet perfume? In the surging swell, in the ringing sound, in the vast wave of the world’s breath—to drown, to sink, unconscious—supreme bliss.”
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