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Why Is Edna Pontellier's Use Of Solitude In The Awakening

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Edna Pontellier dreams of breaking free from her social status, as a wife of a wealthy husband, with two children, in the Victorian era. While most women of the time would crave this seemingly perfect life, the protagonist of Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, comes to the realization that she would much rather bare independence than a name for herself. Edna befriends artist and feminist, Mademoiselle Reisz, and through multiple affairs, moving into a “Pigeon House,” and pursuing a passion of painting, she begins to get a sense of what is truly important to her; this being self-reliance. Throughout the course of the novel, Mrs. Pontellier grapples with the idea of becoming a self-sufficient woman, and Chopin uses the motif of birds --various…show more content…
The man portrayed is without the company of the bird, leaving him completely on his own, both in a state of mind and physical being. Chopin’s use of imagery seen through the bird and the man becomes a representation of solitude. While solitude is what Edna desires, this independence is portrayed as a somewhat somber event. However, she still aspires to be like the bird, “winging its flight away from him.” The bird conveys her desire to escape the unfulfilling commitment to her husband, children, and general identity as a woman, which cages her into the life she no longer wants. In addition, Chopin’s vague descriptions which include the diction of, “his,” “he,” “man,” and the ambiguous bird figure --without a direct reference to species-- reflects the detachment and isolation of the entities through the use of titleless pronouns. This scene parallels the first man vs. bird image Chopin depicts, however the progressed symbolism of the bird portrays the growth from the beginning of the novel until now, whereas the bird is no longer caged but flying freely, as somber as it may be, and therefore depicts Edna’s first realization of true
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