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The Escape of the "Sea": Ideology and The Awakening

The Escape of the "Sea": Ideology and The Awakening The Escape of the “Sea”: Ideology and The Awakening by Jennifer B. Gray Nineteenth-century feminist discourse was an oppositional ideology, a resistance to obstacles to female fulfi llment. The hegemonic institutions of nineteenth-century society required women to be ob- jects in marriage and in motherhood, existing as vessels of maternity and sexuality, with little opportunity for individuality. As critic Margit Stange asserts, “self-ownership” was central to the project of nineteenth- century feminism (506). Self-ownership connoted a woman’s right to have possession of her own fully realized human identity. Inherent in this concept was not only sexual freedom and other aspects of person- hood, but also “a sense of place in the community and the universe at large,” through love, connection, maternity, and other aspects of fulfi ll- ment (Toth 242). Kate Chopin’s The Awakening g is, as Chopin biographer Emily Toth posits, “a case study” of nineteenth-century feminism (242). Indeed, Edna Pontellier’s fi rst consciousness of her awakening is described in terms that echo the nineteenth-century feminist concept of female iden- tity: “Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the uni- verse as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

The Escape of the "Sea": Ideology and The Awakening

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 37 (1) – Jan 11, 2005

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

The Escape of the “Sea”: Ideology and The Awakening by Jennifer B. Gray Nineteenth-century feminist discourse was an oppositional ideology, a resistance to obstacles to female fulfi llment. The hegemonic institutions of nineteenth-century society required women to be ob- jects in marriage and in motherhood, existing as vessels of maternity and sexuality, with little opportunity for individuality. As critic Margit Stange asserts, “self-ownership” was central to the project of nineteenth- century feminism (506). Self-ownership connoted a woman’s right to have possession of her own fully realized human identity. Inherent in this concept was not only sexual freedom and other aspects of person- hood, but also “a sense of place in the community and the universe at large,” through love, connection, maternity, and other aspects of fulfi ll- ment (Toth 242). Kate Chopin’s The Awakening g is, as Chopin biographer Emily Toth posits, “a case study” of nineteenth-century feminism (242). Indeed, Edna Pontellier’s fi rst consciousness of her awakening is described in terms that echo the nineteenth-century feminist concept of female iden- tity: “Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the uni- verse as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 11, 2005

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