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In the novel The Awakening by Kate Chopin, the main character Edna Pontellier must deal with the ultimate internal struggle- the never ending conflict between passion and responsibility.

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Introduction

Lust Versus Logic: The Never-Ending Conflict ??Why?? asked her companion. ?Why do you love him when you ought not to?? (109)? In the novel The Awakening by Kate Chopin, the main character Edna Pontellier must deal with the ultimate internal struggle- the never ending conflict between passion and responsibility. She must choose between her duties and responsibility towards her husband- a man she has never loved-and two young children, and her passionate and consuming love for Robert Lebrun. Although this conflict provides a great deal of turmoil for Edna and those around her, it also helps Edna to discover herself in ways she never before thought possible At the beginning of the novel, it seems that Edna is content with her life as a wife and mother. Although the narrator explains that Mrs. Pontellier has never been the ideal mother or wife, she loves her children and her marriage to her husband Leonce, though passionless, is one marked by respect and admiration. ...read more.

Middle

Edna knows that this transformation cannot come without consequences, but she simply doesn?t care. The intense passion that Edna feels for Robert seems to be part of her nature. From a very early age Edna has had the habit of falling deeply in love with men that she could not possibly ever be with- an engaged young gentleman when she was in her teens, and later, a famous tragedian. Although she was never in love with Leonce Pontellier, she felt that with her marriage to him, she ?would take her place with a certain dignity in the world of reality, closing the portals forever behind her upon the realm of romance and dreams. (24)? By marrying Leonce, Edna believed that she could abandon the passion of her earlier life and start anew in a more stable, socially acceptable lifestyle. Of course, no one can escape his or her true nature. As much as Edna tries to be the wife and mother that society and the culture of the time expect of her, her feelings for Robert are her breaking point. ...read more.

Conclusion

As she swims from the shore in the final paragraph of the novel, she at last she can break away from both the duties and passions that have always consumed her entire self. In the end, Edna chooses death rather than caving in to the pressures of either. ?Nobody, but he who felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man?s mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in contradictory directions at the same time.? This quote from British novelist Laurence Sterne perfectly demonstrates the tremendous pull Edna Pontellier felt between the duty to be a good mother and wife and her nature- the awakening passion she experiences during the summer. Ultimately she is not strong enough to fully commit to either, and this leads to her eventual death. This conflict is meaningful to the book because in a way everyone feels this basic struggle between our hearts and minds. Although Edna was not able to overcome it, her story gives readers hope that maybe they will be. ...read more.

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