Edna Pontellier As An Outlier In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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It is often easy to spot an outlier. An outlier is the person or thing that acts, dresses, and is overall completely different from everything else around them. Edna Pontellier is a perfect example of an obvious outlier. Edna is an alien in her life of proper people. She is not like the others. In the novel, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna is forced to face two different obligations in life, one to follow her passions and be an individual, and the other to be practical and follow the dictations of society. Through Edna’s struggle of passion versus practicality, it becomes clear that being an individual is better than conforming to society. It is better to be an outlier. Edna’s passions often get in the way of her duties in society, causing…show more content…
Throughout the novel, Edna is represented by a multitude of birds. She relates heavily to the multilingual parrot featured in the beginning of the novel who is constantly shot down for speaking its mind. Edna is also treated poorly for voicing what she believes. Another parallel between the bird and Edna is the cage. The parrot is left in a cage in the front hall, unable to spread its wings and fly. Edna is trapped in a metaphorical cage. Ironically, the house that she moves into toward the end of the novel is labeled the pigeon house. Many more instances in the novel relate Edna to birds, all showing how she is trapped in her bourgeois life and desires freedom. While she refrains from her duties as a typical Victorian woman, Edna finds joy in doing what she has a passion for. This joy is only affirmed by her closest friend who serves as the only encouragement received by Edna in the novel. Her friend, Mademoiselle Reisz, is the only character who truly understands Edna, she is the mockingbird to Edna’s parrot when relating the two to the original bird metaphor. Reisz lets Edna know that it is always better to do what you want than to fit into society. Edna follows this advice and continues to follow her dreams, despite that it makes her an outcast in
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