The Transformation of Edna Pontellier in The Awakening Essay

The Transformation of Edna Pontellier in The Awakening Essay

Length: 952 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

“She wanted something to happen- something, anything: she did not know what”
(Chopin). In Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, the reader is introduced to Edna Pontellier, a
passionate, rebellious woman. Throughout the novel, it becomes apparent how unsettled Edna
feels about her life. The reader can identify this by her thoughts, desires, and actions, which are
highly inappropriate for an affluent woman of the time. In the novel, Edna has an awakening
and finds the courage to make the changes she sees necessary. Kate Chopin is able to make
quality connections in order to symbolize her innermost desires. Chopin does this by providing
references to the sea, and the birds, and then using them to foreshadow Edna’s end of life

The sea is typically used in order to express strength, life/ death, and calmness. In The
Awakening, Kate Chopin uses the sea as a way to communicate Edna’s strength and
empowerment. Two references that examine this idea are made available: one for the
transformation of her body and one for the transformation of her mind. Edna’s learn-to-swim
experience transforms her body during her awakening. Overcoming her fears and learning to
swim is a significant experience because it shows how she is able to gain control over her body:
“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul” (Chopin). This is a powerful statement due to the fact
that it represents how Edna undergoes a dramatic change in character. She goes from listening
and acting upon the influences of society, to following her own mind and innermost desires.
These both play a large part in understanding Edna’s personal transformation from a quiet and
fearful girl to an empowered and independent woman.

Across many forms of art, birds ...

... middle of paper ...

...el progresses, an awakening can be observed. This
awakening greatly transforms Edna’s body and mind. Kate Chopin makes this evident by her
use of references to the sea, the birds, and the foreshadowing of Edna’s end of life decision.
These quality connections show the suffering, empowerment, and innermost desires of Edna
throughout the novel, The Awakening.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. New York: Herbert S. Stone and Co., 1899. Print.

Garrett Brown, Kimberly. “Dropping Hints and the Power of Foreshadowing in Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening.” Blogs Goddard. The Pitkin Review. Spring 2010. Web. 20 March 2015.

Mascarenhas, Cheryl. “Bird Symbolism and Their Meaning.” Buzzle. South University. 13 Feb. 2012. Web. 20 March 2015.

Shmoop Editorial Team. "Birds in The Awakening." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 20 March 2015.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

growaw Metamorphosis of Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

- The Metamorphosis of Edna Pontellier in The Awakening The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, tells the story of a woman, Edna Pontellier, who transforms herself from an obedient housewife to a person who is alive with strength of character and emotions which she no longer has to repress. This metamorphosis is shaped by her surroundings. Just as her behavior is more shocking and horrifying because of her position in society, it is that very position which causes her to feel restrained and makes her yearn to rebel....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Free Essays
582 words (1.7 pages)

Edna's Transformation in The Awakening by Kate Chopin Essay

- ... She could not work on such a day, nor weave fancies to stir her pulses and warm her blood.” (97). She recognizes the pointlessness of the life she is living, she realizes that without change, her life has no direction. If she continued with her uneventful existence, she would never experience anything she wants to experience. Her pessimistic view of her world is one of the key reasons that she undergoes her transformation; she was thirsting for an adventure so that she could leave her life behind....   [tags: stereotypes, freedom, society]

Better Essays
688 words (2 pages)

The Comparisson Between Edna Pontellier Character and a Poem Essay

- The Awakening In The Awakening, Edna Pontellier is a selfish character. She wishes to live her life the way she wants without anyone interfering. She did not start selfish, but grew selfish as her hidden desires were awakened. Her selfishness comes from her complete disregard for anyone’s happiness besides her own. Edna refuses to attend her sister’s wedding, describing the event as lamentable. Even if Edna did not want to attend, a wedding is for the bride and groom’s happiness. She is unable to compromise any of her own desires for the happiness of others....   [tags: Mark Twain, the awakening, song of myself]

Better Essays
982 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about Strength in Struggle: Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

- Strength in Struggle Many readers see the actions of Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening as those of a feminist martyr. Edna not only defies her husband and commits adultery, but chooses death over life in a society that will not grant her gender equality. Although this reading may fit, it is misguided in that it ignores a basic aspect of Chopin’s work, the force that causes Mrs. Mallard’s happiness in “The Story of an Hour” upon the news of her husbands death, “that blind persistence in which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature” (Chopin 353)....   [tags: feminism, marriage, individuality]

Better Essays
2937 words (8.4 pages)

Edna's Infatuation in The Awakening Essay

- What is the difference between infatuation and love. This has been a topic of conversation for years, and yet we still have never figured out the exact answer to the question. By Webster’s Online Dictionary the definition of love is “affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests”(Webster’s). This is precisely how Edna Pontellier believes she feels about Robert Lebrun in “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin. Although on the contrary the definition of infatuation is “to cause to be foolish : deprive of sound judgment”(Webster’s), and this is more so the truth for Edna....   [tags: Kate Chopin]

Better Essays
1383 words (4 pages)

The Impact of Edna's Initial Awakening Essay

- Examine the ways in which Chopin reveals and develops the impact of Edna’s initial - awakening - in the central section of the novel. Chopin reveals the impact of Edna’s awakening through a number of different mediums and stylistic devices. Firstly, she uses Edna’s character and her interaction with other people to emphasise the initial development of Edna’s character. In the central section of the novel, Chopin implies a change in Edna’s character this is shown through Doctor Mandelet’s observation, “ he observed his hostess attentively from under his shaggy brows, and noted a subtle change which had transformed her from the listless woman he had known into a being who for the moment, seeme...   [tags: English Literature]

Better Essays
1444 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Ambiguity in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

- Ambiguity in The Awakening        Leonce Pontellier, the husband of Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin's The Awakening, becomes very perturbed when his wife, in the period of a few months, suddenly drops all of her responsibilities. After she admits that she has "let things go," he angrily asks, "on account of what?" Edna is unable to provide a definite answer, and says, "Oh. I don't know. Let me along; you bother me" (108). The uncertainty she expresses springs out of the ambiguous nature of the transformation she has undergone....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Better Essays
3587 words (10.2 pages)

Essay on Theme of Isolation in The Awakening

- Theme of Isolation in The Awakening       One theme apparent in Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, is the consequence of solitude when independence is chosen over conformity. The novel's protagonist, Edna Pontellier, is faced with this consequence after she embarks on a journey of self-discovery. "As Edna's ability to express herself grows, the number of people who can understand her newfound language shrinks" (Ward 3). Edna's awakening from a conforming, Victorian wife and mother, into an emotional and sexual woman takes place through the use of self-expression in three forms: emotional language, art, and physical passion....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Better Essays
785 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on The Importance of Doctor Mandelet in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

- "The Doctor was a semi-retired physician, resting, as the saying is, upon his laurels. He bore a reputation for wisdom rather than skill.. .and was much sought for in matters of consultation."(64-65) Although this description defines the role of the Doctor throughout the novel, it does not do him justice regarding the depths of his intuitive abilities. Doctor Mandelet was a healer indeed-not of the body but of the mind. In spite of being a male, he does not fit into the stereotype, and seems to understand, though not fully, the identity conflicts tormenting Edna Pontellier....   [tags: The Awakening Essays]

Better Essays
744 words (2.1 pages)

The Importance of the Sea in Chopin’s The Awakening Essay examples

- The Importance of the Sea in Chopin’s The Awakening Unlike María Eugenia, Edna in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening chooses not to fill her family’s expectations. As she takes her final steps into the sea she thinks to herself: “they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul” (655). Edna treasures her autonomy and chooses death over familial subjugation. However her transformational journey, alluded to by the title of the novel leads to more than the rejection of her self-sacrificing familial roles as wife and mother and her death....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Better Essays
2336 words (6.7 pages)