Several passages in The Awakening struck me because of their similar imagery—a bird, wings, and nudity. The first passage I looked at is in Chapter 9 where Edna Pontellier has a vision of a naked man “standing beside a desolate rock” (47) on a beach who is watching a bird fly away. This image was evoked by a one particular piece that Mme Ratignolle plays which Edna significantly calls “Solitude. ” Apparently Edna frequently envisions certain images while listening to music: “Musical strains, well rendered, had a way of evoking pictures in her mind” (47). Listening to this piece Edna envisions a solitary, naked man with an “attitude […] of hopeless resignation” (47). This scene presents solitude in many different ways. The figure standing alone and naked near the “desolate rock” illustrates the mood of solitude and resignation.
I was reminded of that scene at the end of the novel in chapter 39 where we find a description of a very similar situation. Now it is Edna Pontellier herself standing alone on the beach at Grand Isle. She takes ...
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- Edna, the Anti-Mother-Woman in Chopin’s The Awakening In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman. The mother- women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle. It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended, protecting wings, when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood. They were women who idolized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels. (29) She had all her life long been accustomed to harbor thoughts and emotions which never voiced themselves.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
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