"The water of the Gulf stretched out before her, gleaming with the million lights of the sun. The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in the abysses of solitude. All along the white beach, up and down, there was no living thing in sight. A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water." Chapter XXXIX Edna Pontellier, a woman no longer certain of who she is. A woman no longer sure of her position in life, of who she is supposed to be. Edna Pontellier is a woman trapped in the bounds of her society, her culture, her time. She is confined in a box that possesses no boundaries. The limits placed on her are as finite as the horizon. The closer you come to the edge, the clearer it is that the end is just a little bit further. The water of the Gulf stretched out before her, gleaming with the million lights of the sun. The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude. All along the white beach, up and down, there was no living thing in sight. A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water. Pg 770, Chapter XXXIX The sea, this "water of the Gulf," is the deepest, most mysterious place Edna has ever explored. Until now, Edna had lived her life on the "white beach," a perfectly virginal island of blind men leading even more blind women. But Edna dips her toes into the dark waters and now she wishes to leave the island and swim out to a better place; or soar overhe... ... middle of paper ... ...e and felt my shoulder blades, to see if my wings were strong . . . `The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wing. It is a strong spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth.' " Ch. XXVII, pg 745. Unfortunately, Edna's wings are not strong, and she has swum out much too far to return back to the white beach. She swam "were no woman had swum before.", and she never made it back to the land. "A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water." There is a simplicity in these words that bring to life the unaffectedness of nature in a stark comparison to humanity and civilization. Edna is now a bird flying above, attempting to get somewhere else. However, she is broken now and cannot go any farther.
The ocean is mysterious to mankind. The unfathomable vastness of the ocean intrigues humanity into exploring it. In life, the immense possibilities that lie in the future compel us to reach for the stars. In the poem “The Story” by Karen Connelly, an individual willingly swims into deep waters even though they are fearful of what may exist in the waters. The swimmer later finds out that their fears were foolish, which illustrates the human tendency to venture into the unknown. The theme conveyed in this poem is that life is like a rough, uncertain, uncontrollable ocean that we must find get through with experience.
In Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her thoughts on relationships, love, inner peace, and contentment. During her vacation by the sea to relax and detach herself from the hectic outside world, Lindbergh masterfully provides insights to a reader of any age or gender. Her poetic and flowing style allows the reader to easily absorb the themes from her meditations. She warns against the pitfalls of modern life because of what she calls hectic rhythm, as opposed to a more fluid and natural primeval rhythm. By removing herself from the outside world, she is able to look at life, love, and relationships from a different perspective. Also, she allows the natural world to help her make connections. She provides advice on how to treat our relationships with other people, and our ever evolving relationship with the outside world.
Many readers would argue that Edna finds this niche in her seaside vacation home on Grand Isle. To Edna, the sea is a wide expanse of opportunity and liberation from the constricting socialite world of French Quarter New Orleans. Chopin's lavish descriptions of the sea give us an insight into its powerful effect on Edna:
“Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her” as she swims in the sea. When Edna learns how to swim she feels the power that she has in controlling herself without obeying anyone. Her action of teaching herself how to swim and “want to swim where no woman swam before” symbolizes empowerment, independence and freedom. The sea represents baptizing and rebirth which baptized Edna and awakened her. Even though it was the sea who awakened Edna’s self-awareness, but it was also the sea where Edna commit suicide.
The Awakening was a very exciting and motivating story. It contains some of the key motivational themes that launched the women’s movement. It was incredible to see how women were not only oppressed, but how they had become so accustomed to it, that they were nearly oblivious to the oppression. The one woman, Edna Pontellier, who dared to have her own feelings was looked upon as being mentally ill. The pressure was so great, that in the end, the only way that she felt she could be truly free was to take her own life. In this paper I am going to concentrate on the characters central in Edna’s life and her relationships with them.
The first words of the book convey a parrot that spoke “a language which nobody understood”, and Edna’s husband “had the privilege of quitting [the parrot] when [it] ceased to be entertaining” (11). In the same light, Edna speaks of and wishes for a life that nobody apprehends. Her husband also possesses the moral, objectifying liberty to quiet Edna when she did not provide leisure, as one can turn off a song once it grows into a tedious nuisance. A further exemplification comes about when Old Monsieur Farival, a man, “insisted upon having [a] bird. . . consigned to regions of darkness” due to its shrieking outside (42). As a repercussion, the parrot “offered no more interruption to the entertainment” (42). The recurrence of the parrot evolves Edna’s state of stagnance as a consequence of being put to a halt by others despite her endeavor of breaking free. Ultimately, as Edna edges out towards the water to her death, a bird is depicted with “a broken wing” and is “beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water” (159). This recurrence parallels the beaten bird to a suffering Edna. She has “despondency [that] came upon her there in the wakeful night” that never alleviates (159). Dejection is put to action when Edna wanders out into the water, “the shore. . . far behind her” (159). Motif of birds articulates her suicide by its association with
strong on her own. Specifically, how to be independant and gain control of her own
The author shows the reader the sea just as the sailor does as death, but more than death
Through metaphors, the speaker proclaims of her longing to be one with the sea. As she notices The mermaids in the basement,(3) and frigates- in the upper floor,(5) it seems as though she is associating these particular daydreams with her house. She becomes entranced with these spectacles and starts to contemplate suicide.
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 in its soft, close embrace (Chopin 25).
The imagery of the ocean at Grand Isle and its attributes symbolize a force calling her to confront her internal struggles, and find freedom. Chopin uses the imagery of the ocean to represent the innate force within her soul that is calling to her. "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 a maze of inward contemplation." (p.14) Through nature and its power, Edna, begins to find freedom in her soul and then returns to a life in the city where reside the conflicts that surround her. Edna grew up on a Mississippi plantation, where life was simple, happy, and peaceful. The images of nature, which serve as a symbol for freedom of the soul, appear when she speaks of this existence. In the novel, she remembers a simpler life when she was a child, engulfed in nature and free: "The hot wind beating in my face made me think - without any connection that I can trace - of a summer day in Kentucky, of a meadow that seemed as big as the ocean to the very little girl walking through the grass, which was higher than her waist.
Edna Pontellier separates from her submissive life to pursue freedom, independence, and love with another man. She strives for freedom so that she can uncover her hidden persona. Independence and love fall into the same faction. Edna wants independence from her husband so she can find someone who will give her the support she needs. All of these aspects contribute to the growth of a new and improved life. She wishes to fit in and pursue her goals. However, in the end, she chooses freedom over everything else. Jumping into the water, thinking about Robert, Leonce, and her children, Edna surrenders to the ocean. Ironically, the ocean is a symbol of freedom. Many people say that “Edna was the precursor of the modern era American woman…” (Musere). She is the inspiration to other women all over the world.
In the end, the sea symbolizes freedom for Edna. It will never treat her as a possession like her husband has for so many years. It will not demand all of her time and attention as her children do. It will never abandon her as Robert does. It will enfold her "in its soft, close embrace" (Chopin 176) and allow her to experience the vast array of feelings that her life has forbidden her to do. The sea will allow her to be free.