The Symbolic Role of Birds in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

The Symbolic Role of Birds in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

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The Symbolic Role of Birds in Kate Chopin's The Awakening


The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a truly enlightening novel about a young woman who begins to really live her life for herself, breaking out of the various barriers of society and family. Chopin uses symbolism as an excellent tool to slip her ideas to readers, causing them to think, giving readers a glimpse into the life of this young woman at a time when women were harnessed by many restraints. The birds that appear throughout the novel are the most intriguing symbols; they are used many different ways, to mean many different things, and to portray various emotions and situations.

As the novel begins, Chopin likens Edna to a bird in a gilded cage. Edna is not free, but that is okay because she has not yet begun to see what life has to offer; she has not yet begun to awaken. Through Edna's desire for Robert, she begins to realize that she is like the bird in the cage, not wanting for anything materially but still trapped. Edna cannot fly away to freedom; she is tied by social constraints and especially by he...

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