Different Symbols In Kate Chopin's "The Awakening"

831 words - 4 pages

In Kate Chopin's The Awakening, Edna Pontellier is reborn and dies in the sea. As Edna swims by herself for the very first time, she feels a wave of independence. This prompts an "awakening" in which Edna goes through many drastic changes, defying traditional thought and social conventions. Edna finally drowns herself in the sea, ending her awakening. The reasons for Edna's outbreak into a new world can be shown through her passion for the sea and her knowledge and disobedience to "illusions" in society.Throughout the novel, Edna possesses a proclivity toward the sea, and this brings about her awakening and death. Edna first shows her excitement for the sea when sitting with her friend ...view middle of the document...

As she strips off her clothes and walks into the ocean, she feels "like some new-born creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world that it had never known." She continues out into the sea, and when she becomes tired, she says good-bye to her family and stops swimming. As she is sinking, she thinks of her family and home in Kentucky, just as she had before her rebirth.Edna Pontellier is also able to become a new person because of her awareness of "illusions" in society, such as social conventions. Edna defies the invisible rules placed on women and becomes her own person. For example, at that time a woman always listened and obeyed everything her husband said. After Edna's awakening in the ocean, she chooses to sleep in the hammock. Her husband tells her " 'I can't permit you to stay out there all night. You must come in the house instantly.'" Edna simply answers "I don't wish to go in and I don't intend to. Don't speak to me like that again. I shall not answer you." Most women would not say things like this. Another convention is that mothers must devote...

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