Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening both portray the desire of women to seek independence as seen by Orleanna and Edna’s dissatisfaction with treatment from their husbands, the significant decision to leave their current locations, and the self-discovery found in a life that breaks their expected norms.
Although Leonce and Nathan live on opposite sides of the world, they show a similarity in how they treat women as objects, evoking unhappiness due to this treatment. For example, one of the first scenes in The Awakening portrays Leonce’s genuine attitude towards Edna. The story states, “‘You are burnt beyond recognition,’ Mr. Pontellier added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage” (Chopin, 7). This quote exemplifies Leonce’s condescending nature and his tendency to view Edna as only an object that benefits his self image, which causes Edna to feel rather worthless in the marriage. As the story progresses, readers see deeper into Edna and Leonce’s relationship, only to realize how truly dissatisfied Edna is with the expectations and treatment she receives from her husband. “If there is any real discord between the couple it is that Leonce wishes Edna to have more direct involvement with her children. It is only when she breaks with every social convention of the time that he questions her as a wife” (Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening,” Caldwell). This constant questioning that Leonce lays upon Edna only causes her to become more disgruntled with her marriage.
The Poisonwood Bible Chapter Summary
Orleanna experiences similar treatment from Nathan in The Poisonwood Bible and can relate to Edna’s struggle of being worn out by her husband’s immense expectations. As Orleanna and her four daughters grow accustomed to dealing with Nathan’s overzealous and overdriven attitude in Kilanga, they begin realizing that Nathan does not value them like…