Essay on Symbolism of Birds in 'The Awakening'

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The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a novel written in late 1890s, explains about Edna Pontellier as she sheds the parts of herself that are dictated by societal expectations and uncovers her true self and defines freedom in sexual passion and artistic expression but she also finds that refusing to conform to accepted women's roles has a downside at Madame Lebrun cottages on the summer resort island of Grand Isle wealthy businessman Leonce Pontellier struggles to find a peaceful place to read the newspaper he ends up in a rocking chair on his cottage porch smoking as his two children play shortly after his wife Edna arrives at the cottage accompanied by Robert LeBron Madame Lebrun’s son after a time Mr. Pontellier prepares to go out for the evening leaving Robert and Edna at the cottage chatting like good friends later after Edna is asleep her husband returns what if their sons tosses restlessly in his bed deciding the boy has a Beaver Mr. Pontellier becomes upset and applies Edna is a neglectful mother after Mr. Pontellier goes to bed Edna sits up alone and wide awake upset by the way he treated her the next day Mr. Pontellier leaves for New Orleans to attend to his business while he's away he sends Edna a box of treats which she shares with Roberts and her friend Madame Ratingolle who's pregnant.

In Mr. Pontellier absence Robert and Edna continued to spend time together Madam retinal sensing Edna and Robert are quite close warns Robert to leave Edna alone one summer evening a party is going on at the main House of Madame Lebrun’s cottages Robert convinces mademoiselle rise an accomplished pianist to play apiece Edna experiences an intense emotional reaction in the music after the party breaks up Edna and Robert walk with the group down to the beach edit decides to attempt to swim she's been trying to learn to swim all summer without success this time she stays afloat euphoric she swims out way too far and as a moment of panic when she sees how far she is from shore but she makes it back safely under the light of the moon a traditional and key symbol of femininity because of its connection to the see the tides and the menstrual cycle and it carries those connotations in this novel the narrator refers to a Mystic moon and Robert tells Edna Pontellier the moon must be shining or the spirit that haunts the Gulf will not appear the moon is also associated with nighttime and its light shines on many of edna's most intensely emotional moments all throughout the book on Sunday a group from Grand Isle goes by boat to a nearby island for church service Robert and Edna go but Edna becomes ill during the mass so Robert takes Edna to Madame Antoine's home where Adnan apps most of the day Edna and Robert stay late at Madame Antoine's before going back to Grand Isle together just a few days after this Robert decides to leave for Mexico to pursue some opportunities there leaving Edna noticeably sad the summer winds down and soon it's time for the pontil yeas to go back to New Orleans after they've settled in Edna begins to break with her normal routine she stops paying social visits and receiving callers and she refuses to correct the household staff when they underperform instead she pursues her painting her husband is concerned both about Edna and how her behavior might look to others in their social circle one night he expresses dismay at her lack of interest in running the household and storms out to get dinner at the club and it becomes angry smashing a vase trying to crush her wedding ring Edna calls on her independent woman friend mademoiselle rise who reveals Roberts sent her a letter asking about Edna and they feel slighted that Robert didn't send her letter to but she's eager for news of him Edna tells Madame was orise she is becoming an artist and the pianist tells her an artist must be courageous Mr Pontellier asks a doctor what to do about Edna’s strange behavior he advises him to let Edna do as she pleases Mr Pontellier invites the doctor to dinner to observe Edna and his father the Colonel is visiting and the talk over dinner is lively something Edna says makes doctor Mandalay think she might be having an affair which hasn't happened yet but he discreetly keeps his suspicion to himself because he doesn't think it's anyone's business sometime later Edna finds herself alone at home for an extended.

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Her husband is away on business and the children are staying with their grandmother she enjoys her time alone and goes to the races several times there she meets al say aerobot as their relationship develops as it becomes sexually charged individuality is a theme strongly represented here and Nippon soliai is on a journey toward establishing her own identity Edna is not happy to just devote herself to marriage and family she desires to become better at her art and a willingness to be alone much of the time but she is unwilling to give up on the possibility of true love she shares a sexual attraction with al sayeh robot but she doesn't want to be just another in his long string of conquests she's in love with Roberts and he was her but she wants to move the relationship into the realm of the physical and he doesn't in each case edna's interactions highlight her uniqueness the tragedy is she can never fully express her developing individuality because of the social conventions that bind both her and Robert being true to herself results in a solitude she cannot live with Meanwhile Edna decides to move out of her husband's home to a smaller one the pigeon house she can afford on her own partly with money she earns by selling her artwork as she sets this plan in motion she learns Robert is soon to return from Mexico her pleasurable anticipation finds an outlet in a sexual encounter with mr x Edna feels conflicted about this because she loves Robert but she enjoys expressing her sexual feelings on her 29th birthday Edna hosted dinner party meant to say goodbye to her husband's large house afterward she and al say walk together to her smaller one and again have sex some days later Edna runs into Robert who's returned from Mexico Robert is getting uncomfortable about getting too close to her and their conversation is awkward for the next few days he seems to avoid her when she runs into him again in a local garden he agrees to accompany her home and they both admit that they love one another just as things get serious however Edna receives a message that Madam wrapped in yo is in Labour and needs Edna by her side since Edna previously promised to be there for her friends Labour and delivery she feels obliged to go she tells Robert to stay at her house until she gets back it's clear she means they will spend the night together when Edna returns record is gone he's left a note saying goodbye because I love you Edna stays up all night the next day she returns to Grand Isle where she goes to the sea we doubt begins to swim until she's finally too far out to make it back to shore the ocean is one of the book's most important symbols like the moon whose tides it controls the sea is a powerful image in the awakening the seas sensuality represents Edna pontellier Hayes awakening to her independent and sexual self the touch of the Seas sensuous and folding the body in its soft close embrace its voice calls to Edna with an unceasing whispering that speaks to the soul to see also represents freedom in the see Anna learns to swim independently an important milestone in her move toward liberation but she also learns of the dangers posed by swimming too far out the downside of freedom is risk a spiritual metaphor the sea represents birth and reapers the emergence of life from the primordial ocean on all these levels the sea has a powerful draw for Edna she looks out at it often here ultimately ends her life in it the driving theme of women and society makes the novel resonant to this day in New Orleans society in the late 1800s women had limited opportunities to become anything other than wives and mothers social structure was largely built on men and women performing well defined duties the upper class in particular had myriad strict conventions men were to go out and achieve success and provide for their families women were to have children run the household and be devoted wives and mothers consider how Edna pontellier is caught between two extremes of womanhood represented by Madame rats in your mademoiselle rise Madam wraps in Newell is the ideal wife and mother doing everything expected of her and finding great contentment in it mademoiselle rise is the opposite she's not a wife or a mother but an artist she's respected as a talented musician but she pays a price for rejecting society's norms society largely rejects her she lives in isolation Edna is a wife and mother but she finds little fulfillment in these roles and relationships she wants to grow as an artist but she does not want to give up on romance she wants the independence to make her own decisions but she also wants to be with Robert ultimately she finds society has no place for a woman like her the symbol of birds in the awakening symbolized women caged and broken by the limitations society has placed on them the opening image of the novel is of two caged birds compare and amakin group later in the novel mademoiselle rise tells Edna pontellier that she will need strong wings to fly if she's committed to defying traditional women's roles in addition and their moves from her grand home to a smaller pigeon house the smaller house gives her a kind of freedom but it represents the way her unconventional choices remove freedom binding her into a smaller and smaller space the novel's final image also includes a bird the it has a broken wing and it circles above is Edna gives up her own life if mademoiselle rises opinion is true edna's wings were not strong enough to withstand society's pressures the awakening is structured around a series of awakenings as Edna pontellier slowly discovers her true feelings and desires as a character Edna doesn't change inwardly instead she gradually aligns her outer self with her inner self for example she doesn't become dissatisfied with her marriage and motherhood she awakens bit by bit to the realization she is already dissatisfied as she strips away the social conventions that do not serve her true self she is increasingly emboldened to act on her own wishes edna's sexual awakening is an important part of herself discovery she has the stirrings of physical attraction to Robert before he leaves for Mexico when she meets al say arrow bath she can experience sexual passion in way she hasn't in her marriage this awakening leads her to initiate a more physical relationship with Roberts though he's ultimately unwilling the act of waking itself is an important symbol directly related to this theme the awakening spends an unusual amount of time on Edna pontellier's sleeping habits but not without reason these details are important to developing the titular theme of spiritual awakening in many cases a period of sleep followed by waking leads to an instance of mental or emotional awakening for example when edna's husband comes in late and wakes her she cannot go back to sleep it is overcome with a sense of indescribable oppression as she considers how her husband relates to her the physical awakening is a precursor to the realization she's unhappy with her marriage and her role as a wife and mother.

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Essay on Symbolism of Birds in ‘The Awakening’. (2024, May 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
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