Essay about Symbol and Irony in The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Essay about Symbol and Irony in The Awakening by Kate Chopin

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“The Awakening”
Symbolism, Irony


In Kate Chopin's short story “The Awakening”, the voice of the story portrays a woman with sexual aspirations, and moral female social rules in search for independence and self discovery. The story is based on the 19th century woman. During this time women barely had any freedom, were not recognized within the society and had no choice but to me submissive to their husbands. The main character of the story named Edna is portrayed to be a happy woman because she has everything; a wealthy, attentive husband, and two children. Thoughtout the story the truth about Edna’s unhappiness is revealed. The voice of the story uses symbolism, irony, and figurative language to express Edna Pontellier’s feelings as she found her way to her happiness and freedom.
Throughout the text, Chopin encourages readers to think but using situational irony. “Irony- the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.” (Merriam-Webster). While reading, readers are made to think the opposite of what actually happened at the end of the story. In the beginning of the story, Edna’s husband Leonce tells his wife to send his friend Robert away when he starts to bore her. Unknown to Leonce that he was actually the one who was boring Edna. “"Well, send him about his business when he bores you, Edna," instructed her husband as he prepared to leave.” (Chopin 1).
Another example of irony is when Leonce comes back from his night of enjoyment and tries to wake Enda up to be his audience. Leonce gets annoyed when she does not give him her attention and here the voice of the story refers to Edna as him “sole object of his existence”. “He thought it very dis...


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...and strength to break away from society. Personification is used to describe the sea. "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" (Chopin 50-51). The sea also plays metaphorical roles in the story standing as chaos and danger. This comes in to play when Edna goes into the sea and it takes her life.
This story represents the lives of women back in the early 19th century. They were so closed in by societal norm and rules that many of them did not have the freedom to be who they wanted to be, or even live they life they wanted to live. The story “The Awakening” is a clear example of this scenario. Edna Pontellier did not have the courage to strength to face society so she felt like she had to die to find her freedom.

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