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The Awakening

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Amanda Bruner

on 24 February 2014

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Transcript of The Awakening

Edna's Tuesday Reception Gown and Coup d'Etat Dress
Edna's Shawl, Peignoir, and Satin Mules
The Awakening
Clothing
Amanda Bruner
Sydney Wohlfert
Stephanie Ferraro
Molly Foster

"Lady in Black"
The
"lady in black"
is always associated with the
color black
which often represents
unhappiness
and
death.
She represents
mourning
and
solitude.
It is revealed that she is a
widow
who often
prays
the rosary as a symbol of her steadfast
faith.

"Before one of the cottages, a
lady in black
was
walking demurely up and down, telling her beads
" (2).
"The
lady in black,
with her Sunday
prayer-book,
velvet and gold-clasped, and her
Sunday
silver
beads,
was
following them at no great distance
" (32).
"The
lady in black
was reading her morning
devotions
on the porch" (7).
"The
lady in black, who did not notice him
[Monsieur Farival]
or reply, but kept her eyes fastened upon the pages of her velvet prayer-book
" (35).
Mademoiselle Reisz
Mademoiselle Reisz is often associated with her
lack of fashion.
She is described as wearing
artificial flowers in her hair which was not typical of the time.

"She had
absolutely no taste in dress, and wore a batch of rusty black lace with a bunch of artificial violets pinned to the side of her hair
" (25).
"Some among them thought it was on account of her
false hair,
or the
dread of getting the violets wet,
while others attributed it to the natural aversion for water" (48).
"She began to cry a little, and
wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her peignoir.
. .

she
slipped her bare feet into a pair of satin mules at the foot of the bed
" (6).
Edna's
peignoir and shawl
serve as things to
comfort her in times of distress.
As the shawl wraps around her, it
gives protection and a feeling of security.
Her shawl is the color white symbolizing her innocence.
"The
tears came so fast
to Mrs. Pontellier’s eyes that the
damp sleeve of her peignoir no longer served to dry them
" (6).
" 'Will you get my
white shawl
which I left on the window-sill over at the house?' ” . . .
" 'Of course I will,' " he said, rising. He went over to the house, walking along the grass. . .
when he returned with the shawl she took it and kept it in her hand. She did not put it around her"
(30).
No Clothing - Naked
Summary
The Tuesday reception gown symbolizes
openness and formality.
Edna is to wear the same gown every Tuesday when receiving her visitors.
"Mrs. Pontellier, attired in a
handsome reception gown,
remained in the drawing-room the entire afternoon receiving her visitors" (50).
"Mrs. Pontellier
did not wear
her usual Tuesday reception gown; she was in
ordinary house dress
" (50).
The
golden gown
from the Coup d'Etat symbolizes Edna's
growing independence and self-expression.
The color of gold suggests she is
in

control
and able to
make her own decisions,
and the shimmer
allows for her to stand out from others.
She is no longer influenced by others and is
embracing her individuality.
"The
golden shimmer
of Edna’s
satin gown
spread in rich folds on either side of her. There was a soft
fall of lace
encircling her shoulders. . . There was
something in her attitude, in her whole appearance
when she leaned her head against the high-backed chair and spread her arms, which
suggested the regal woman, the one who rules, who looks on, who stands alone
" (89).
When Edna imagines a naked man while listening to Reisz's song, she sees him as
having no hope.
She perceives nakedness as
isolation.
The man in her imagination has the ability to be free because he is not bound by anything.

"The name of the piece was something else, but she called it “
Solitude.
” When she heard it there came before her imagination the figure of a
man standing beside a desolate rock on the seashore. He was naked.
His attitude was one of
hopeless resignation
" (25).
"She
cast the unpleasant, pricking garments from her, and for the first time in her life she stood naked in the open air,
[as] the waves . . . invited her" (115).
Stripped of her clothing,
Edna enters the ocean for the last time. She feels
free in her mind, body, and soul.
Clothing often represents things that
constrict.
Therefore, nakedness symbolizes her
ultimate freedom from all attachments.
Edna's choice to strip herself of her clothes is her way of
casting away her old life.
It symbolizes a
loss of identity and the end of her awakening. She is anew.

"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" (115).
The
symbolism of clothing
develops throughout the novel. In the beginning, Edna follows the strict rules of the Creole society and lives according to its guidelines.


Works Cited
Chopin, Kate.
The Awakening.
New York: Dover, 1993. Print.
The
"lady in black"
is often
discrete
and
unnoticed
because of her clothing. She
blends in with society
by being
silent
and, she shows
no signs of independence or a desire for self-expression.
Her black
clothing binds her emotions and prevents her from standing out.
Her
accessories prevent her from partaking in the same activities as others,
and they help to
reduce her conformity
in fashion. Reisz is an
independent
character and her clothing symbolizes her
individuality.
The peignoir and satin mules represent the Pontellier's
social status along with their financial situation.
All of these articles of clothing symbolize the
success of the family
and how others view them.
When she decides not to wear the gown,
she does not follow the routine.
This is one of the first instances where she
defies society and expresses her desires.
However, as she begins
her
awakening process,
her
attire seems
to change as well as
the role of clothing.
Some of her
garments
serve as comforting
items
while
others
constrict and confine
her.

In the last chapter of the book, Edna advances to

wearing no clothes.
This nakedness shows Edna's freedom
which she has longed for.
Full transcript