Symbolism In The Awakening

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A victorian woman is pure, etiquette, and takes the role of a housewife. The novel, The Awakening, was written during a time when women were expected to follow these social standards. Edna Pontellier struggled to follow these ways and wanted a life full of freedom away from her husband and children. To show this translation in lifestyle, the author used symbolism. In the novel, The Awakening, the author Kate Chopin heavily relies on symbolism through birds and water.
Birds and their action of taking flight are used to symbolize characters and their struggles. Edna lived a very isolated life where she couldn’t reach her desires very similar to a parrot “hung in a cage”(Chopin 1). The author was able to compare her life which was limited by society …show more content…

Towards the beginning of the novel, Edna came in counter with the vast open ocean. She had only taken basic swimming lessons but “wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before” (Chopin 32). Chopin was comparing Edna's desire to swim far out to her parallel wants of breaking free from society. Edna wanted to express her urges for satisfaction and freedom unlike any other woman had done before. The only problem is that she struggled to gain that independence. She would swim farther and farther out but when she thought she was her farthest, she really wasn’t that far away. While being so far from shore she was struck with a “quick vision of death” (Chopin 32). Being so far away from the shore resembled Edna later in the story when she was independent of her family. This quick glimpse of death foreshadowed that things would not go as planned for Edna when she finally was able to attain her desires. Eventually, Edna understand that even with freedom, there was no way for her to escape from her children and husband in this world. She returns back the Grand Isle where she goes immediately to the beach. Edna then began to walk out into the ocean and it was only a matter of time before “the shore was far behind her, and her strength was gone” (Chopin 157). The ocean was where Edna’s story started and now it was the place where it ended. She took her life by drowning and it showed that Edna didn’t belong in the time that she lived in. Edna’s awakening was symbolized by the ocean and was able to be seen from start to

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