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The Awakening

Satisfactory Essays
The Awakening In the book The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier is an unhappy, married, mother who finds an outlet from her life through a welcoming ocean. "A certain ungovernable dread hung about her when in water, unless there was a hand nearby that might reach out and reassure her."(p.27) Edna is frightened by the ocean and very overwhelmed by its massive strength. Then she learns to swim and becomes fascinated by what was once an intimidator. "How easy it is!" It is nothing."(p.27) Edna is very pleased with this new found joy; Edna is estatic over conquering her fear. "She could have shouted for joy, she did shout for joy."(p.27) Edna feels happy with herself for the first time in many years. "She felt like some new-born creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world it had never known."(p.115) Edna begins swimming regularly and thoroughly enjoys it. "Edna plunged and swam about with an abandon thrilled and invigorated her."(p.49) "She remained a long time in the water."(p.49) Swimming, for Edna, provides a much needed recess from her home life and the typical role of a woman and a wife in the 19th century. "I have a notion to go down to the beach and take a good wash and even a little swim," "before dinner? The water is too cold. Don't think of it." "Well I might go down and try-dip my toes in."(p.114) Edna is growing very fond of the ocean and so adorns her swims. No one will keep her from this new pleasure that brings such satisfaction to her life. Edna feels free for the first time since her childhood. She loves so much this mysterious new being that is so wonderful to her. The ocean proves to be a place where she can transcend her life into the life of who she wants to be. "The touch of the sea is sensuous unfolding the body in its soft, close embrace."(p.115) Edna feels closer to the sea than anyone she has ever known. "She thought of Leonce and the children. They were a part of her life, but they need not have thought they could posses her."(p.116) Edna is slowly beginning to awaken from the marriage and life that has held her comatose for so long. She realizes why she is unhappy and looks to the sea for commiseration and answers, but finds none. Edna can only continue her love affair with the ocean and appreciate her newly-discovered soulmate.
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