That's all right!'" (Chopin pp3) In The Awakening, caged birds represent Edna's entrapment. She is caged as a wife and mother; she is never expected to actually be able to think and make decisions for herself. The caged birds also symbolize the entrapment of Victorian women in general since their movements are limited by the rules of the society that they live in. Just like Edna the parrot cannot communicate its feelings because the parrot speaks in "a language which nobody [understands]" (Chopin pp3).
This caged bird personifies Edna’s entrapment in the role of a wife and a mother, forced to constantly think of others and is never expected to think for herself. Like the parrot, Edna is greatly limited by the rules of society and is confined to displaying the same behavior as those around her. Also, the parrot gives voice to Edna’s unspoken feelings and voices Edna’s desire for solitude. Hanging in a cage on the other side of the door from the parrot is a mockingbird, who portrays Madame Reisz. In the beginning of the novel, it is acknowledged that the mockingbird is the only one who is able to comprehend the parrot’s Spanish.
He says that "you [Edna] were not free; you were Leonce Pontellier's wife" and that "[Robert] was demented, dreaming of wild, impossible things...[such as] men who had set their wives free" (108). Robert does not want to do something wild and unacceptable to society. In a situation parallel to that of Edna's, the only bird that understands the parrot is the mockingbird (Reisz) that "[is] whistling its fluty notes upon the breeze with maddening persistence" (1). Because the parrot continues to shriek, people move it away from their society: "[Mr. Farvial] insisted upon having the bird removed and consigned to regions of darkness" (23). Society wants to hide the bird in darkness, as it wants to do to Edna, in order to keep the bird from causing problems.
In the first pages of the novella, Chopin reveals Madame Lebrun's "green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage" (Chopin 1). The caged bird at the beginning of the novella points out Edna's subconscious feeling of being entrapped as a woman in the ideal of a mother-woman in Creole society. The parrot "could speak a little Spanish, and also a language which nobody understood" (1). The parrot's lack of a way to communicate because of the unknown language depicts Edna's inability to speak her true feelings and thoughts. It is for this reason that nobody understands her and what she is going through.
Birds are not living beings that are banished to a cellar when they make noise, they need to be free. The question is, what is the price of freedom? When Edna talks to Mademoiselle Reisz she tells Edna about the strength... ... middle of paper ... ...rest of her days.” (pg 300). Her children were holding her back from the freedom that she most disired. They were her kin, her blood, with them in the picture she could never be free.
In the beginning of the novel, Edna is the "green and yellow parrot" caged "outside the door", saying, "Go away! Go away! For God¹s sake!"(467). Edna feels trapped in her marriage just like a bird in a cage and after she meets Robert she wants to "go away". Edna, the bird, decides to flee her m... ... middle of paper ... ...out Robert and a purpose in life, Edna chooses not to live.
Edna ignores these standards by engaging in two extra-marital affairs and by placing her own life before those of her children. Her desire to live as she pleases lies in direct opposition to the duties she is expected to perform, and she refuses to put on this performance to satisfy society. As a result, Edna seems as brazen and audacious as the parrot that obviously does not mimic the sounds he hears and instead seems to create his own. Again squawking, "Go away! Go away!"
The parrot is domesticated and used as a pet, expecting to follow the orders of a man and behave; it symbolizes Edna’s entrapment before her awakening. Edna believes she is trapped in her marriage, “[b]oth Edna’s body and mind remain inactive while she is living as a housewife in the private sphere of her home…like a caged bird, she does not see beyond her limits…” (Clark 337), but once she realizes she is not ... ... middle of paper ... ...k 345). Edna was not strong enough to fly above prejudice of her society, causing her to spiral down towards her death, but finally gaining the freedom she desired. Chopin’s The Awakening utilizes avian symbolism to show the stages of Edna’s awakening. Edna first starts out trapped, like the parrot, doing as she is trained to do, then awakens and speaks her opinions, like the mockingbird, and after her awakening she realizes she never obtained freedom and becomes the bird with the broken wing.
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.
The mockingbird is the only one who understands the parrot, as Mademoiselle Reisz, who happens to be unmarried, understands Edna’s struggle. Mademoiselle Reiz is distant and reserved from society because she does not fulfil the domesticated role of a women. She lives alone without a husband or children while devoting her life to music. Edna struggles with being an artist as she sees how Mademoiselle Reisz’s independence from marriage and motherhood makes her a lonely outsider. However, it is her isolation from society that allows her to understand Edna.