The Awakening Symbolism Analysis

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Major Symbols and Their Significance Birds: The caged birds in the beginning of The Awakening come to represent Edna and other Victorian women ensnared in socially accepted conventions. The mockingbird and the parrot continuously chatter and whistle, but are soon requested to be removed due to the discomfort they cause, especially to the men. They expect the birds to not be disruptive and to remain silent while they enjoy life and their activities. The mockingbird and parrot are a symbolic parallel to Edna and Mme. Reisz since they are also held to a standard to not displease the men or express themselves. These birds are limited as to what they can do just the same as women were in the Victorian society. It is inferred that these birds…show more content…
Carole Stone characterizes the sea as “both a generative and destructive force”. Edna first establishes independence when she learns to swim and goes out to sea alone. The ability to swim symbolizes a rebirth in which Edna realizes her capability to grow in spite of the Victorian society whom stumps it. After extreme efforts, Edna comes to the conclusion that society is not ready to accept her newfound self and immersing herself in the sea is her only way to become whole as discussed thoroughly in Stone’s essay. Edna shows self criticism because she recognizes her actions will affect her children in this “society where reputation is everything” (Hytönen 86). Edna displays this in The Awakening when she speaks to Doctor Mandelet, “I shouldn’t want to trample upon the little lives”. Although Edna willingly “goes to sea, losing her life… she does not lose herself” which connects to when she revealed to Adèle that she would sacrifice everything for her children but not her being…show more content…
Edna seems content with her life and Léonce appears caring and interactive when he looked at her like one looks at damaged “valuable piece of personal property” while she continues to swim after they had already swam in the morning. It then shifts to a tone of solemnity. Chopin remains neutral on Edna’s thoughts and actions as she transforms in order to achieve the social freedom she craves. This tone persists until the very of the novel when Edna drowns after multiple trial-and-errors to attain the person she yearns to
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