The Awakening in Comparison to How Stella Got Her Grove Back






The Awakening in Comparison to How Stella Got Her Grove Back

Kate Chopin in her novel The Awakening incorporates different themes and issues plaguing an advancing society. The book The Awakening centers on Edna Pontellier who has contrasting views about being a woman in a male dominated world. In addition, her views are regarded as unorthodox in Southern United States where women are viewed as lesser to men. The book attracted condemnation for its boldness in advocating for relegation of duties by the women in their homes in pursuit of personal happiness by women who were mothers or had other responsibilities. However, the book was condemned for its strong description of sexual desires by women in a time when women were not thought of having any feelings and were considered as beings that were for the sole purpose of taking care of family. The Awakening in comparison to the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back, are identical in that they narrate of how two women are suppressed by society such that they cannot achieve what they crave for because of a prejudiced society (Bassett, 1998). Moreover, How Stella got her Groove Back is a movie about a woman by the name Stella. Stella while on her vacation in Jamaica meets a young man by the name Winston Shakespeare who is 20 years her junior. Despite their 20-year difference in age, they become embedded in a steamy relationship that soon turns into a romantic relationship (Bassett et al, 1998).

Edna Ponteiller is a woman who is held captive by her situation as a mother and a wife in a male chauvinistic society. Edna became involved with a young man with whom she was emotionally attached. The novel is an illustration of the societal injustices against women that were prevalent during that time. This is also identical to Stella’s situation whereby she faces criticism from some of her family members who question her decision to be involved romantically with a younger man. However, Edna’s situation is slightly different from Stella’s because of the different times. In Edna’s time, women were treated as outcasts for having love relationships with young men. Edna seems to have a desire to relive her youth with Robert as they become intimate. Robert is romantic in comparison to her husband who is on frequent business meeting thus lacks time to give love and affection to his wife (Chopin & Culley, 1976).

The book Awakening and the movie How Stella Got her Groove Back both have dominant themes of sexuality. In the Awakening, Edna is portrayed as a sexual being when she becomes sexually involved with Arobin. Stella is also portrayed as a sexual being because she seems at first to be intent on fulfilling sexual desires of Winston and her own as well. Both Stella and Edna try to juggle their responsibilities as mothers and their sexual or physical needs as women, which seem not to be satisfied. As for Edna, she might be referred to as promiscuous because she is already married yet she does not respect her union with her husband and has relations with Robert and Arobin. Arobin considers his relationship with Edna as a fling with no consequence whatsoever (Chopin & Culley, 1976). Stella and Edna both have a right to happiness and thus they are put in bad light by society because they are in pursuit of love that has been elusive.

Despite the prejudices in society against women courting younger men, they defy the odds to achieve the happiness they long for in a happy relationship that is full of love. The book also brings forth the question why does Edna receive condemnation. for being involved with Robert whereas Robert is not put in bad light but is considered as a successful  because he manages to win Edna’s attention. This is a clear illustration of society’s bias towards men who conquer hearts of women who are already married or greater in age. In addition, Winston does not receive any criticism for winning the affection of older Stella but instead receives admiration from part of Stella’s family and friends for winning her heart (Bassett et al, 1998).

After Edna fails to have Robert in her life because he has fled with no sign of coming back she becomes distressed and suicidal. In the end, she opts to commit suicide because she cannot bear the thought of living her past life and without Robert in her life. In contrast to Edna’s situation, Stella does not opt to commit suicide because she eventually gets married to Winston despite their significant age difference. Despite having doubts about having a relationship with a younger man, she stills goes on to have an intimate relationship.

In conclusion, the differences in time are a clear illustration of the views of people about unions between two people of with varying ages. Women are regarded as outcasts yet men are considered as conquerors of the heart when they court a significantly younger woman. In Edna’s time, it was socially acceptable for older men to court younger women. Yet Edna’s actions received condemnation from people in her community who called her as promiscuous. 


Bassett, A., Diggs, T., Goldberg, W., & Twentieth Century Fox Home Video (Firm). (1998). How Stella got her groove back. Beverly Hills, California: Twentieth Century Fox.

Chopin, K., & Culley, M. (1976). The awakening. New York: Norton.


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