Subjectivity, Individuality and Abjection in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

Kamelia Telebian Sedehi, Nur Fatin Syuhada Ahmad Jafni, Wan Roselezam Wan Yahya


Julia Kristeva's concept of abjection deals with how the subject intends to gain his/her subjectivity by rejecting the things which are not considered part of himself/herself. In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899), the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, is portrayed as a married woman but one who has romantic affairs with other men. Deemed unthinkable, Edna’s desire and search for true love is seen as an act of defiance by the society in which she lives. Edna’s life’s boundaries are blurred and confused by her ambiguous actions, a display of her attempt at abjection. By applying textual analysis as our methodology, this research aims to delve into how Edna fights for her individuality and sense of self. As a result, the analyses are divided into two parts, namely, Search for Subjectivity and Individuality and Edna Pontellier’s Awakened Individuality. Besides, the reaction of patriarchal society towards Edna's search for independent subjectivity is scrutinised as it greatly affects Edna's life. By applying Kristeva's abjection to Chopin's The Awakening, the current article intends to focus on Edna's attempt at self-realization.

Keywords: Abjection, Subjectivity, Self and Other, Self-realzation

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