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The Awakening Water Symbolism Essay

analytical Essay
1584 words
1584 words
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Water symbolizes change, as the current flows, the water is never the same at that very point. For Edna, in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, water is the key that releases her from the shackles of her marriage, and of the societal norms accustomed to women. With the power the water brings forth to Edna, it also creates constraint as it tempts her to further relinquish her obligations beyond all possibility. The repetition of the symbol of water, and the freedom as well as constraint it represents, reveals Edna 's desire to be independent from her societal obligation that was typical during the turn of the Twentieth Century, one where the woman exists to benefit and serve the man. The water, mainly the sea, is a symbol of freedom to Edna, as the vast expanse of water before her seems limitless and able to put a boundary between her and the oppression she faces. In the …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how water symbolizes change, as the current flows, the water is never the same at that very point. it is the key that releases edna from the shackles of her marriage and societal norms accustomed to women.
  • Analyzes how the sea symbolizes freedom for edna, who is not a stereotypical mother whose duty it is to serve her husband and children.
  • Analyzes how edna broke the traditional role for females and pursued her own interests of being independent in the twentieth century.
  • Analyzes how edna's lack of motherly duties and her inability to fulfill her husband’s standard of how she should act weighed her down, similar to the oppression weighing her possibilities in society.
  • Analyzes how edna learns of the liberating powers that swimming in the sea possesses, as it creates a barrier between her and the island, and realizes the constraint it fosters.
  • Analyzes how the water was edna's ticket of freedom and empowerment, but it was also solely responsible for her death. suicide, during the early twentieth century, was not seen as taboo.
  • Analyzes how the symbol of water represents both limitations and freedom, revealing edna's desire to break away from the expectations of society present in the latter years of the nineteenth century.

Many people tried to teach her to swim, but rendered her unteachable. However, on one fateful day, Edna took the plunge into the sea and began to swim around “like the little tottering, stumbling, clutching child, who of a sudden realizes its powers, and walks for the first time aline, boldly and with over-confidence.” (Chopin 46) With her miraculous newfound ability to swim, therefore able to increase the distance between her and the island, where she feels different because she is not the stereotypical mother whose duty it is to serve their husband and children. All of a sudden, Edna, “grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before.” (46) Edna realized her desire for independence, and the water baptized her into fulfilling this desire, forcing her awakening. Furthermore, while Edna and Robert were crossing the sea to get to church, “Edna felt as if she were being borne away from some anchorage which had held her fast, whose

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