Beyond Binary Opposition: Reinterpretation of Mr. Pontellier in the Awakening

ZHANG Yan-hua
2014 Journal of Literature and Art Studies  
The American writer Kate Chopin's masterpiece, The Awakening published in the late 19th century is one of the classics in female literature. The heroine Edna having the courage to pursue self-reliance and express her self-awareness, is regarded as a "new woman", while the comments on her husband, Mr. Pontellier are quite negative-He regards Edna as a private property and a sexual tool, leading to her awakening and suicide. In this paper, the author reinterprets Mr. Pontellier with the method of
more » ... with the method of close reading in new criticism, deeming that it is the binary opposition in thinking that leads to the misreading. Mr. Pontellier was just a follower of the tradition and custom. The objective evaluation and reinterpretation to him can help students to develop the habit of critical thinking and the courage to pursue truth is case they form a simple thinking mode of the binary opposition.
doi:10.17265/2159-5836/2014.12.002 fatcat:glooot2ikbcadpwn3icxuyapei