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The Oceanic Feeling: A Freudian Reading of Katherine Chopin's The Awakening
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is a book about women’s position in late 19th century, showing a woman’s attempt to find liberation and emancipation in a restricting, male-dominated society. Much is revealed already in the title. We understand that the text is about someone who will awaken, and the heart is in fact a story about Edna Pontellier’s gradual awakening to her own sexual and individual being, what it is and what she has to do. She is a woman living in a society where a wife is expected to be rather weak and dependable on her husband. Step by step she discovers why she does not feel pleased with doing what is expected of her by her husband and by society.

          The acts of Edna Pontellier, the protagonist in Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening, is in this essay analysed with help of the Freudian terms oceanic feeling, the unconscious, and the pair Eros and Thanatos. Edna’s different swims gradually help her to find what is hidden in her unconscious. At the start of the novel, she is not conscious of the fact that there is another, deeper set of feelings, but the essay shows how through her minor swims she is driven by the Eros drive towards an overwhelming awakening which leads her to Thanatos and her final oceanic swim.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-32906OAI: diva2:728984
Subject / course
Available from: 2014-06-25 Created: 2014-06-25 Last updated: 2014-06-25Bibliographically approved

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