Symbolism In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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In Kate Chopin's The Awakening, Edna Pontillier conforms outwardly and questions inwardly. She is a wife and mother of three who begins to question the role of a woman. We observe Edna's struggle through her short lifespan and we fall in love with the idea of peace. Edna's duties as a wife and mother feud with her independent spirit and we are shown Edna's and all women's need to be free through Chopin's use of symbolism. Chopin uses birds to represent freedom and the ability to fly, but the birds are also symbols for something strong yet delicate. Edna symbolizes a bird in the vast ocean of society because she knows that society is wrong, but she's not yet strong enough to spread her wings and stand against it. She has all of the qualities to question society yet she's struggling inwardly because she doesn't know what's going to…show more content…
Edna has multiple houses which is important to understand because they reflect her changing state of mind. She has lived in her fair share of houses in the novel: the cottages on Grand Isle, Léonce's spectacular house in New Orleans, Madame Antoine's on Chêniére Caminada, and her "pigeon house". All of these houses represent the different stages that she undergoes through her awakening. Grand Isle is a more traditional place that follows the rules set by society. Edna feels like she is confined within the cage of traditional roles of a mother and a wife. New Orleans is the place of social rules, realistic life, and duties. It's where her husband, Léonce, expects her to be the perfect social hostess, mother of their children, and wife. However she doesn't follow all of the roles given to her and she tries to escape this social cage by moving to her own house, the "Pigeon House". Finally, Edna never finds a place where she feels "at home". She only finds privacy, relief, and comfort, the things one would find in a home, through

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