Mademoiselle Reisz Character Analysis

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“You are the only one worth playing for. Those others? Bah!” In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier’s path to self-discovery is most influenced by Mademoiselle Reisz. A seemingly unlikable but talented musician, Mademoiselle made Edna one of her few friends in the Creole community and eventually revealed many important truths about Edna as an individual. Her presence in the novel plays a key role in the progression of Edna’s awakening as she plays the part of an inspiration, a safe-haven, and a mentor. Throughout Edna’s gradual transformation, Mademoiselle Reisz serves as a role model for her new passionate and autonomous self. As a musician who passionately pursues her music instead of regarding it as mere household entertainment,…show more content…
One of the most powerful lines in the novel was when Mademoiselle Reisz tells Edna that “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”. This extension of the bird metaphor reveals Mademoiselle’s deep understanding of the significance of Edna’s transformation, both to Edna personally and to society as a whole as a feminist awakening. Additionally, the imagery of “the weakling, bruised, exhausted,..” also foreshadows the ultimate ending in which Edna drowns herself in the water of Grand Isle, both as a sign of her exhaustion and her final effort to seek personal freedom. It is also in the presence of Mademoiselle Reisz that Edna first confessed her love for Robert Lebrun, stay updated about Robert’s travels through his letter to Mademoiselle, and leaves Mademoiselle’s loft every time with a manic elation. Thus, Mademoiselle’s presence presents Edna a world of passion and pleasure unseen before in her
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