December 5, 2013
The Awakening Analysis
Symbolism is a literary and a visual art movement introduced in France and Belgium in the late nineteenth century. Symbolism was a response against the dominant principles of realism (Writers History). Although there are many examples of symbolism in The Awakening, the most important to the plot are the sea, the birds, and the sleep with Edna. Throughout the novel, the author often signifies the importance of the sea. In the novel, the sea represents both freedom and escape. After Edna learns how to swim, she gets a sense of freedom. Edna longed to swim out far out, she wanted to swim where no one has swum before. "She turned her face seaward to gather in an impression of space and solitude, which the vast expanse of water, meeting and melting with the moonlit sky, conveyed to her excited fancy. As she swam she seemed to be reaching out for the unlimited in which to lose herself." (Chopin) During that moment, the sea became her place where she could lose herself. Edna remembers the Kentucky fields of her past as the ocean in the novel that is how she connects the sea to herself. The sea was also the place where Robert taught her how to swim and in the end she escapes there knowing she cannot truly free herself. Not only is the sea important but so are the birds. In the beginning of the story, the mockingbird and the parrot are caged up communicating in French, which shows that the birds symbolize communication and entrapment of women in that century. The parrot that says, "Get out! Get out!" could foreshadow Edna's want to leave her middle-class life. Also, since birds are known to spread their wings and fly away, that shows the importance of the birds in the novel because Edna wants to take flight and escape her life. The last thing Edna sees before she kills herself in the ocean, is a broken-winged bird trying to fly but falling instead. That could signify her...
Cited: Writers History. "Symbolism." Writers History. Writers History, 12 May 2013. Web. 03
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. New York: Capricorn, 1964.
Jimenez PAGE * MERGEFORMAT 3
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