Water In The Awakening

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In Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”, the main character, Edna Pontellier, becomes awakened to herself, her need for nonconformity, and her strength through water and the sea. The water and sea serves a multitude of everyday purposes such as swimming, bathing, and drinking. However, Edna’s experiences with water are extremely symbolic, “awakening” her as a woman(48). In her first experience of swimming- in which she had “attempted all summer to learn”-she grew “overconfident” and “wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before” (47). This daring, adventurous desire stemmed from her husband, Mr. Pontellier, and his overbearing, possessive nature. This rebirth occurs, and over time Edna feels like herself, able to make her own decisions. Feeling alone, the “space and solitude” of the ocean emphasizes how Edna is different from the others in her society and seems rebellious to her husband (55). The freedom that …show more content…

The imagery Edna is moved with includes the sounds of the rippling water, the sails flapping in the breeze, the sight of the moon, and the “current of desire” that ran through her body, creating a drive for inspiration (97). As Edna had been acquainted deeply with the sea, a sort of rebirth occurred, similar in idea to a baptism. Her awakening, as it seems, is only the start of Edna’s journey, and the water strengthens Edna both mentally and emotionally. While in the city, Edna frequently takes “refreshing baths” and “washes up in basins” after naps to “start anew” (122, 161). Edna also meets with friends, such as Mademoiselle Reisz, from the beach while back in New Orleans. Mademoiselle Reisz educates Edna and makes her aware of her love for Robert, another member from the beach. Edna has come to her senses in herself and the true ones she loves. This idea of rebirth and new found awareness occurs throughout the

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