Symbolism In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

766 Words4 Pages
In Kate Chopin’s, The Awakening, Edna Pontellier is unsatisfied with her life. She has thoughts and actions that were considered inappropriate by many people during her life. These people did not approve of a woman such as Edna defending herself and going against societal norms. Symbols can be found in the story that help to explain Edna’s true desires and foreshadow her actions. In the novel, Chopin successfully uses symbols such as the sea, the birds, and the woman in black in The Awakening to express Edna’s true feelings.
Birds were mentioned from the very beginning of the novel. It starts off with “A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door” (1). This bird was shrieking at Mrs. Pontellier in Spanish, which no one could understand except the mockingbird. The parrot symbolizes Edna, as she too feels as though she is imprisoned in her life and cannot be understood by her
…show more content…
Overall, Chopin uses the sea to symbolize Edna’s “awakening” in the novel. The sea called to Edna from the beginning of the novel, when she was at the Grand Isles. “The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude” (13). The sea calls to her in the same way that she knew that she wanted a change in her life. Edna learning to swim was the first time that Edna began to feel “The Awakening”. She noticed what she was missing when “A feeling of exultation took over her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul” (27). This was her moment of realization of her freedom and independence from the world. Although it shows her power, her death is also foreshadowed at this point. “As she swam she seemed to be reaching out for the unlimited in which to lose herself” (28). Losing herself can refer to Edna’s future death when she loses hope in the water and

More about Symbolism In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

Open Document