In The Awakening, producing real art requires holding a position outside the societal mainstream. The lives of the two artists we see in The Awakening, Mademoiselle Reisz and Edna Pontellier, suggest that art requires a singular devotion that is impossible to have if also married. The Awakening thus paints a conflict between the pursuit of art and acceptance by society. Mademoiselle Reisz and Edna are both willing to pay the price to be real artists.
Questions About Art and Culture
- Why does Mademoiselle Reisz tell Edna that it takes great courage to be an artist? By her own criteria, is Mademoiselle Reisz an artist?
- What’s the difference between when Mademoiselle Reisz plays the piano and when Adele plays the piano?
- Why does Mademoiselle Reisz consider Edna to be the only audience member worth playing for?
Chew on This
In The Awakening, art is inextricably linked to passion.