Excerpt from Argus, 1997
To glory in the individual (the self), to indulge whims and passions and sensations, and to revel in an irrepressible'spirit of rebellion are all char acteristic ofa Romantic personality, and Edna fits this description more and more as the novel progresses. Keams suggests that by Edna's ascribing to the idealistic model of romantic transcendence and wanting to segregate herself from others she effectively snares herself in a situation that repudiates her intellectual, spiritual, and artistic worth Chopin demonstrates this idea when Edna reluctantly consents to go to the beach with Robert lebrun, and Edna does not question her motivations. Chopin simultaneously grandiose and satiric, writes Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within her and about her That is a lot of philosophy to descend upon Ednajust for acquiescing to a bathe. In Edna's mind, however, she transforms this event into something lofty, as ifit were her first contact with the sublime reality of her inner being. Chopin further adds, mocking, But the beginning ofthings, ofa world es pecially, in necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing.
The world manifesting itselfto her is one created through the filter of her own imagination and skewed perceptions, and she enjoys the polar effect of wallowing in her variousjoys and agonies, but it does not con tribute to her growth as a person. For example, when she cries over the en counter with Leonce about her child, she could not have told why she was crying Chopin, seemingly sympathetic, explains that She wasjust having a good cry all to herself, but this is the unnatural and inexplicable grief(which the author ironically undercuts with adorable description of merry mosquitoes and buzzing imps) of someone who has too long de nied normal human feelings and knows no other productive way of express ing them. Consequently Edna's emotions emerge suddenly and volcani cally. Lloyd M. Daigreport suggests that the seemingly self-liberating urges that compel Edna are as vague yearnings which she too lit tle attempts to understand or control which is precisely Edna's (nebulous) plan ofliving in the moment. When Mlle. Reisz plays onthe piano for her, Edna thinksthat pictures of solitude, of hope, of longing.
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