The Bird Symbol In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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In the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin, symbols play a big role in bringing out the theme of Edna Pontellier’s awakening. One specific symbol defines Edna’s journey which is the bird symbol. Edna, including all the women in her time are trapped by the constraints placed upon them by a male-dominant society. But Edna is the only one who decides to live life as she pleases following her whims and not living under someone’s demands. Edna represents the birds because she thinks she is free, but birds get trapped, just like how Edna gets trapped in having to follow social norms. First, Edna is initially symbolized by the caged green-and-yellow parrot because like the bird she is confined. At the start of the book, the parrot shrieks and swears at Mr.Pontellier. Chopin writes, “A GREEN AND yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over: ‘Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That’s all right!” (1), which in English means "go away, for God's sake". The parrot represents Edna because both are trapped and longing for freedom. Like the parrot, Edna begins to desire solitude, pushing away her husband and former…show more content…
When Edna realizes that Robert loves her, but is too frightened to be with her, she cannot take the pain and sorrow she feels. Edna awakes and realizes that her life is empty. She finds that she’s the one who has been defeated by society and life itself. As Edna goes back to the place where she had begun her awakening, she walks to the beach and sees a bird who is hurt. It states, “A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water” (156). Edna has become like this bird; her heart is broken and her soul is discouraged as she realizes she will never fully discover love and life. The bird’s failure to fly symbolizes Edna’s suicide because both of them are on a solitary flight to
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