Great Gatsby/the Awakening Essay

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Compare and Contrast Essay
3/19/13
How motifs affect theme in The Awakening and The Great Gatsby
In common literature, motifs are reoccurring symbols that develop a certain aspect of the author’s intention. In The Awakening, Kate Chopin uses the motif of water to develop the theme of freedom. Similar to the Chopin, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the motif of yellow and white to develop the theme of appearance versus reality. In contrast, their themes may be different, however the intention of both authors successfully uses the motifs to develop the theme. In the beginning of The Awakening, Chopin uses the motif of water at the Grand Isle beach to represent Edna’s first stages of her awakening. While taking a walk on the beach with the Pontelliers and the Ratignolle, she takes her first swim the ocean: “But that night she was like the little tottering, stumbling, clutching child, who of a sudden realizes its powers, and walks for the first time alone, boldly and with over-confidence” (Chopin 73). The Grand Isle is the first setting that Edna develops her questioning the life she is living. The motif of the water that Edna is swimming in develops her realization and want for independence. The specific diction leads the reader to believe that the ocean swim essentially over-powers the protagonist, Edna, with a new feeling of freedom. The diction suggesting so is when Edna realized the ocean’s “power” and the impact it has that she even feels independent when Chopin uses the phrase “first time alone.” Chopin continues Edna’s experience while also suggesting that she starts to feel independent: “As she swam she seemed to be reaching out for the unlimited in which to lose herself” (Chopin 74). Edna’s experiences of the water at the beach further develops the theme of freedom from her oppressed lifestyle that was common during the time period this novel was set in. In order to cope with her duties as a 19th century married woman, the beach at Grand Isle is one of the...
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