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Scene Analysis - the Awakening

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Scene Analysis - the Awakening

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  • June 2008
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„Edna had found her old bathing suit still hanging, faded, upon its accustomed peg. She put it on, leaving her clothing in the bath-house. But when she was there beside the sea, absolutely alone, she cast the unpleasant, pricking garments from her, and for the first time in her life she stood naked in the open air, at the mercy of the sun, the breeze that beat upon her, and the waves that invited her. How strange and awful it seemed to stand naked under the sky! how delicious! She felt like some new-born creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world that it had never known. The foamy wavelets curled up to her white feet and coiled like serpents about her ankles. She walked out. The water was chill but she walked on. The water was deep, but she lifted her white body and reached out with a long, sweeping stroke. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.”

The Awakening, Chapter XXXIX, Page 160.

The novel “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a woman, who is held in chains by the social conventions common to the late nineteenth century, where the story takes place. One day Edna awakens out of the role given to her by society and begins to listen to her inner wishes and feelings which guide her to her “self”. From now on Edna developes to an independent and liberate young woman, who lives her life for herself, not for her husband and not for her children as it would have been expected of a woman out of this time. She gives up her old life to start a new one. It seems as if Edna closes every door behind her, so that there will not be a way back into her past life even if she wanted to take it. The passage above shows Edna at the end of her self-discovery journey. It shows her back at the place where the story had begun: at the beach of Grand Isle. After the reader has accompanied Edna through the whole novel, the story has come full circle now. The protagonist reached a point where there is no...