The Symbols In The Awakening English Literature Essay

October 6, 2017 English Literature

In Kate Chopin ‘s The Awakening, the underlying significance is imparted to the reader through the usage of expressed symbolism. The major function of the usage of symbolism in the novel is to try to pull a nexus between the universe that Edna knows and her several waking ups and do that nexus more powerful and compelling. Analyzed in this essay are three outstanding symbols of involvement which are birds, the ocean and the houses Edna resides in. The avian allusions and symbols that are present throughout the narrative service to stand for the ability to wing and the freedom it enables. The mentions to oceans and seas within the novel are symbolic of freedom and authorization as it relates to Edna. Further houses allow the reader to detect the different transmutations that Edna undergoes. The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, is filled with legion symbols and motives that allow the reader to develop a deeper apprehension of its message.

The first symbol to be analyzed is the repeating mark of birds present throughout the novel. When birds appear in the novel they serve as a contemplation of Edna ‘s ego, and her ideas. The novel opens non with a chief character talking but with parrot, “ Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! ” ( pp. 3 ) . This declaration from the bird translates to “ Travel off! Travel off! For Eden ‘s interest! ” It can be inferred that these lines are representative of the ideas that are go throughing through Edna ‘s head for much of the novel. Much like the parrot which “ could talk a small Spanish, and besides a linguistic communication which cipher understood, ” ( pp. 3 ) Edna is unable to pass on her true desires and her true feelings to anyone else because they could non understand. Edna wishes to abandon her function as a compliant married woman, and acquiescent female parent that the Creole society demands she be. Further the bird discussed above is caged typifying the entrapment of Edna by society and its outlooks for females of that epoch. Possibly the lone other character in the novel that understands Edna is Mademoiselle Reisz, who stirs Edna ‘s psyche with music, and gives advice to her. Edna informs Arobin that Mademoiselle Reisz:

Put her weaponries around me and felt my shoulder blades, to see if my wings were strong, she said, ‘The bird that would surge above the degree field of tradition and bias must hold strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the doormats bruised, exhausted, fliting back to Earth. ‘ ( pp. 103 )

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It appears that Reisz knows beforehand that Edna will try to wing and show an uncertainness as to whether or non Edna is strong plenty to win. Mademoiselle Reisz is warning Edna in this transition that her flight may finally stop in failure but Edna does non have this message for she is “ non believing of any extraordinary flights. I merely half comprehend her. ” Reisz is trying to assist her with this flight by deducing that she is possibly non strong plenty, and may neglect but it falls on deaf ears as Edna does non grok what Reisz is seeking to make. The reader encounters birds towards the decision of the novel during a polar minute in Edna ‘s life, “ All along the white beach, up and down, there was no living thing in sight. A bird with a broken wing was crushing the air above, staggering, flap, circling disabled down, down to the H2O. ” ( pp. 113 ) Edna observes this as she is approximately to walk into the ocean and travel through her concluding waking up. This bird with a broken wing embodies Edna stand foring that she, much like the bird, is unable to wing off and flight from the things that confine her. Further it besides illustrates that Edna is already dead before she enters the H2O like the bird that is doomed to decease.

The 2nd symbol to be analyzed is the frequent visual aspect of the ocean/sea. Of all the symbols in the novel, the ocean appears most on a regular basis. Edna systematically connects the ocean with a certain personal free will even when she is a kid, “ [ a hayfield ] seemed every bit large as the oceanaˆ¦she threw out her weaponries as if swimming when she walked. ” ( pp. 21 ) Clearly Edna feels freedom and exhilaration in the above transition illustrated through the mention to the broad unfastened ocean. Further, it is in the ocean located off from the Grand Isle where we observe on of Edna ‘s waking ups. Before this waking up she has already learned how to swim, and when she attempts to swim out into the ocean for the first clip a certain metabolism occurs, “ A feeling of jubilance overtook her… She grew make bolding and foolhardy, overrating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no adult female has swum before. ” ( pp. 37 ) This scene is critically of import in the patterned advance of the novel because with her find of her ability to swim she besides realizes that her life is an empty shell. Possibly this realisation serves to help her in the alterations that she will encounter subsequently in the novel. But there is an facet of foreshadowment in the line “ she grew make bolding and foolhardy, overrating her strength. ” Though swimming in the ocean gives her many positive feelings of freedom she has non the strength to swim for longer periods of clip and as a consequence will submerge. Her desire to “ swim far out, where no adult female has swum before ” is a baronial desire to get away from her entrapment due to Creole society, and she slightly accomplishes this wish but finally fails with her death. The ocean in the novel allows Edna some of the feelings of freedom, but it besides serves as an instrument of her death ; “ Exhaustion was pressing upon and over possessing her. Adieu, because I love you aˆ¦ He did non cognize ; he did non understand. He would ne’er understand aˆ¦ it was excessively late ; the shore was far behind her, and her strength was gone. ” ( pp. 116 ) Edna believes that the ocean allows her to show herself and get away from the power that is exenterated over her by society. But she realizes that no affair what she attempts to make she will ever be trapped by society, for she lacks the ability to alter the manner her life is. After coming to this realisation she decides that she will retire where she feels the most free and off from being influenced ; into the ocean.

The 3rd and concluding symbol to be analyzed in this paper is the dynamic symbolism of the houses that Edna resides in. These houses are a direct contemplation of the legion mental and emotional provinces that Edna experiences throughout her journey. The bungalows that are located on the Grand Isle have several symbolic significances. They serve as separate coops for Edna and besides are a contemplation of the households that reside within them. Further, all of the bungalows at topographic points like this are about indistinguishable proposing that all households that dwell in them are indistinguishable harmonizing to the traditions of the Creole society. Possibly the most iconic and of import house that is encountered during the novel is Edna ‘s “ pigeon-house. ” The imagination associating to this house immediately gives the reader insight into why this house is so of import to Edna, “ In a small four-room house around the corner. It looks so cosy, so inviting and reposeful. ” ( pp. 79 ) This pigeon house serves to supply Edna with the comfort and independency that her old house with her hubby ne’er provided. Her freedom she experiences allows her to recognize how much control she can hold over her life, “ she had resolved ne’er once more to belong to another than herself. ” ( pp. 80 ) This can be considered one of her many waking ups for she realizes that she does non necessitate a adult male in order to carry through and finish her life. It is besides of import to observe the contrast from her old feelings to the new feelings and abilities that arise after Edna moves into the pigeon house ; before when she kisses Arobin in the house of her hubby she has feelings of “ reproach looking at her from the external things around her which he had provided for her external being. ” ( pp. 84 ) Yet when she engages with Arobin at her new “ pigeon-house ” she experiences no feelings of reproach or sorrow. This illustrates how she is now more free in this house than she has been in any other scene.

There are many symbols in the novel The Awakening, and in this essay three of the most outstanding have been examined taking us to a immense decision. Clearly it is necessary in this novel, and most others to analyse and use the happenings and significances behind symbols scattered throughout the work. Birds serve as an allusion to Edna herself and as an instrument of foreshadowment in respects to her ain death. The ocean is used legion times throughout the novel as a beginning of freedom and ego look that allow Edna a release from everything traveling on in her life. The last symbol was the many houses that Edna was in during the novel that were representative of her current feelings and were a contemplation of her. Without the analysis and recognition of these symbols the narrative becomes merely a simple piece of authorship and lacks important deeper significances.


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