The book The Awakening by Kate Chopin illustrates the theme, “women’s rights” in many symbols. The years of the late 1800’s were years or hardship for women. One lady is caught between two ways of living. Chopin uses these symbols with the caged bird, then back and forth between the art and the sea. Which represents the struggle (caged bird) and the freedom they feel (the sea and the art).
The Awakening Essay Breaking away from society’s “so-called” customs/norms incorporates a large array of valor, inspiration, and most importantly, individuality. Society places normalities upon its people in order to maintain stability and often times, tradition. More specifically, gender roles, such as women raising children; men being the only source of profit, must also be broken in order to establish uniqueness and distinction in a conventional- themed culture, such as Victorian society. Kate Chopin’s
“Edna, like Walt, falls in love with her own body, and her infatuation with the inadequate Robert is merely a screen for her overwhelming obsession, which is to nurse and mother herself” (Modern Critical Views 2). Edna Pontellier is an estimable woman of the tardy 1800s who not only apperceives that she owns many sexual desires, but additionally finds the vigor internally to digress from society’s code of conduct and builds up the nerve to act on them. Breaking through the role appointed to her by society, convivial protocol, and everyone who circumvents her, she finds herself determined to set her own identity, disinterested in both her husband and children. Many of Kate Chopin’s other stories feature zealous, and quite unconventional female
A symbol is an object, event, or person that represents an idea or set of ideas. Oftentimes, authors insert them into literary pieces to enhance the content or provoke readers to analyze the text thoroughly. Various symbols are incorporated throughout novels, such as: birds, children, the ocean/swimming, colors, and clothing. All of these representations can be found within The Awakening, however, author Kate Chopin introduces the ocean/swimming as a primary symbol. This is significant to the literary work since it represents her freedom, the dilemma to conform to societal expectations, and her awakening.
Many great authors manage to introduce the major themes in their work in the opening scene. By doing so, they hook their readers and excite them to read more. Kate Chopin masters this in her novel The Awakening. Her novel is about a "woman who has led the conventional life of an upper-middle-class wife and mother until the age of twenty-eight, then finds herself feeling so frustrated and suffocated that she is willing to defy the conventions of Louisiana Creole society to gain spiritual independence" (Delaney 1). Chopin hints at three themes in the first chapter of her novel; identity, love, and marriage.
Throughout the novel Chopin reveals through the symbolism of the caged parrot Edna’s will to free herself from the life she lives. A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over: `Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That's all right!''' (19) Like the parrot, Edna is caged in the life she lives in with Mr. Pontillier and their kids. She has the desire, the want, to fly away and leave the cage but cannot. Mademoiselle warns Edna, “The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth." (82) Mademoiselle is telling Edna that her leaving could result in failure. Once more Edna wants to be that bird to get away from everyone, to fly away from the society she live...
Maddie Jenkins American Literature - 3 September 20, 2017 Edna’s Awakening in the Sea In The Awakening, Kate Chopin’s protagonist Edna Pontellier breaks the boundaries of female behavioral norms by using the sea as a metaphor to convey Edna’s strength and empowerment. Edna’s recklessness shows her passion to escape from the restrictive reality of her time. Edna first breaks boundaries when she steps into the water in chapter X, in a “daring and reckless way, overestimating her strength”(Chopin 27). Edna swims out to sea to escape the entrapment of a male dominated society.
Similar to the recurring motif of the ocean, the constant symbolism of the lady in black during Edna’s vacation in Grand Isle brings to light the limitations of freedom and the constant pressure of society’s standards. In Creole society, a woman dressed in blacks shows that she is a widow who has to adhere to the Creole’s tradition. Here, Chopin once again subtly introduces her message of isolationism through the life of the lady in black and that her appearance symbolizes the freedom from her husband while revealing the loneliness that comes with this freedom. The color black often signifies darkness and loneliness, therefore my journal notes that “in each appearance of the lady in black, she is seen to be alone and completely separated or
Kate Chopin, in The Awakening, uses symbolism to help the reader understand the deeper message intertwined throughout the pages of her novel. The symbolic meaning of the sea, cigars, and bird’s wings unravel the message of women breaking through the cult of domesticity in the 1800’s.
Throughout Chopin's novel, The Awakening, she utilizes symbols to convey a deeper meaning in the story. One common animal, like a bird, or object, like clothing represent so much more than what is just on the surface in the text. The symbolism of birds as women, clothing as freedom, and even art as personal freedom or failure, beautify the novel and give it a deeper meaning. Birds are simple creatures, but they possess a great power, flight. This gift can be expressed or hindered through clipped wings, or cages. Women too, are magnificent creatures capable of so much, but in the Victorian times, (among others) exemplified in the novel their freedoms were restrained by men and society in general. Thus birds were an appropriate and rather witty symbol to represent them with. The colorful, repetitive parrot in the book represents Edna, " Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi!", (page 1) translates to, " Get out, get out, damn it!" in English. The bird is caged in bars, while Edna is caged in marriage, children and Creole society. She is a colorful creature, with creativity and talent in painting, and the parrot is telling everyone what she wants to do (escape). The fact that the bird speaks three languages (French, English, and Spanish) describes Edna as complicated and difficult for everyone to fully understand, or even to comprehend at all. Edna eventually achieves some freedom by moving out into the "pigeon house", a small cottage that conveys a resting place for birds just before flight.