Symbolism In The Awakening

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The Enlightenment (1650-1800) also referred to as the “Age of Reason” eventually morphed into 19th century Romanticism. Throughout the period of Enlightenment and Romanticism we see an emergence of independent thought, which resulted in freedom to know and understand. The Enlightenment was a period that spawned many philosophical, intellectual and social movements throughout much of Europe. Furthermore, it lead to countless intellectual break throughs in disciplines such as: mathematics, philosophy and medicine. Scholars of the time thought that all humans should strive to increase knowledge rather than rely on emotional impulses. To be human is to be free as an individual in your thoughts and actions. One of the fundamental belief commitments…show more content…
Edna yearns to finally be able to spread her wings and fly away, so that she can’t think and feel for herself. Her deepest desires are to be free from the burden of her family and society that are constantly trying to suppress. Therefore, against society’s expectations she begins to gain knowledge through sex, art and love through her affair with Alcée Arobin as well as through her deep desire for Robert Lebrun. Edna begins spreading her wings when she explores and gains all of the knowledge to make a decision to fly on her own. Chopin describes Edna’s escape through Mademoiselle Reisz hugging Edna “put her arms around me and felt my shoulder blades to see if my wings were strong, she said. ‘The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings, bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth” (Awakening Pg. 106). Mademoiselle Reisz trying to tell Edna that if she truly wants to be free she will have to be strong, independent and must not think about what others think of her. If Edna fails she will break her wing and fall back to earth. Edna’s awakening is that death is the only way she will be able escape the cage and be able to fly independent and
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