The Awakening Water Analysis

1211 Words3 Pages

Throughout The Awakening, water the main motif serves as a catalyst to the metamorphosis of Edna. During the length of the story Edna goes through a process of changes that coincides with the presence of water. Water serves as a conduit for liberation and empowerment that facilitates the rebirth and even death of Edna. In this essay I will argue that the motif of water represents the continual transformations that occur within Edna throughout the story.

The story opens on the Grand Isle off the coast of Louisiana, completely surrounded by water with the Gulf of Mexico to the South. Here the protagonist Edna and her family often stay for summer vacations. The Grand Isle separated by other landmasses by water represents the independence and solitude the body of water provides in comparison to the other settings of the story such as, New Orleans. It is here on the Isle that Edna begins to discover her independence. The waters around the Isle have seduced Edna during her stay. “The Gulf, whose sonorous murmur reached her like a loving but imperative entreaty” (Chopin 32). Even from the land in the safety of her summer home, the sea has enticed and attracts her towards it.

The presence and embrace of the sea is a constant acquaintance to Edna. In contrast, her husband frequents the club and children who are unattended by her. The continual presence of the sea allows Edna to reflect on her life such as seeing her image on the surface of water.

“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.
The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body ...

... middle of paper ...

...he presence of water as the motif in this story facilitates these transformations for Edna. On the Grand Isle, the constant presence of the ocean begins a metamorphosis within Edna that alters her perspective of herself in relation to others. She begins to fulfill her desires and abandon her responsibilities as a wife and mother to her family, in order to pursue a life of independence. Allowing her to fulfill her desires to be a painter and be with Robert. Critical moments of self-reflection for Edna occur in the presence of the ocean. It is at the ocean where she first realizes her desire to be independent. Also the empowering force of the ocean allows Edna to be a dictator of her fate. She ultimately decides to take her life and be free from other’s wants and expectations from her. The water was the catalyst that allowed Edna to be liberated and obtain her desires.

Open Document