Underneath It All

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Submitted By taoroll
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March 18, 2009
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Underneath it All

Yakini Kemp and Kate Chopin use similar motifs to depict their characters. Covering of the body and art are pieces used to reflect the characters of each piece. Both women deceive their husbands in a fashion by using a “cover up”. Covering in both stories ranges from a piece of cloth to the crown of hair on ones head. In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the protagonist, Edna Pontellier goes through stages of shedding her body covering. In the beginning of the novel Edna is fully clothed. As the novel progresses she slowly alters her attire. In one instance Mrs. Pontellier went from wearing glamorous “reception gowns” on Tuesdays, her “reception day”, to wearing an “ordinary house dress”. This showed the beginning of her distancing herself from society. On another occasion the actor noticed that she had “transformed” and reminded him of a “sleek animal waking up”. At the end of the novel the shedding of her clothing shows Edna shedding the societal views in her life and her attachment to the world. “She stood naked in the open air for the first time”. To Edna the release of her clothing was an awakening, she felt like a “new born”. When Edna commits suicide she is finally naked, she has shed everything she has in her quest for selfhood. Women in Edna’s community was very cautious of their complexion “twined gauze veil about her head, dogskin gloves, with gauntlets that protected the wrists and a dressed in pure white dresses with fluffiness of ruffles” (Chopin- 22). Just the mere thought that Edna would go through the novel disrobing would bring disgrace to the Creole community. Faida of His/ Her Story goes through a state where she sheds her clothes also. At the art fair she slowly takes her clothes off, “I felt slightly exposed, my personal life, my deceptive life was about to be revealed. Being exposed…...

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