My psychoanalytic essay focuses on Edna Pontellier’s fatal quest to find herself using Jungian principles in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. More specifically, my essay analyzes the use of the elements syzygy, the mask, and the archetypes of shadow, anima and animus, and Self within the context of the novel. Edna’s need for syzygy, or unity, is portrayed in her struggle to balance the social expectations placed upon her as wife and mother with her longing for independence. Meanwhile, her mask, or false appearance, acts against her independence and further forces her to conform to female gender norms. Edna’s shadow, or dark side, is her inner conflict toward being a bad mother to her children as well as being trapped in her unhappy marriage. Edna’s passionate sexual desire for Robert serves as yet another form of her personal completion through the unity of the anima and animus, or oppositely-gendered parts within a person. Perhaps most importantly, Edna searches to find her Self, as shown by her development throughout the novel via her spiritual awakenings. Aside from some formatting corrections to my MLA citations and a few grammatical changes, most of the editing in my revision consisted of bolstering the thesis. I did this by adding to my thesis statement that Edna’s quest to find herself was unsuccessful and added evidence of this throughout the essay in order to make a more complete, concrete claim about the piece of literature rather than simply pointing out the presence of Jungian principles.
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