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Transcript of The Awakening
Edna's Shawl, Peignoir, and Satin Mules
"Lady in Black"
"lady in black"
is always associated with the
which often represents
It is revealed that she is a
the rosary as a symbol of her steadfast
"Before one of the cottages, a
lady in black
walking demurely up and down, telling her beads
lady in black,
with her Sunday
velvet and gold-clasped, and her
following them at no great distance
lady in black
was reading her morning
on the porch" (7).
lady in black, who did not notice him
or reply, but kept her eyes fastened upon the pages of her velvet prayer-book
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.
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
"Some among them thought it was on account of her
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.
slipped her bare feet into a pair of satin mules at the foot of the bed
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.
tears came so fast
to Mrs. Pontellier’s eyes that the
damp sleeve of her peignoir no longer served to dry them
" 'Will you get my
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"
No Clothing - Naked
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).
did not wear
her usual Tuesday reception gown; she was in
ordinary house dress
from the Coup d'Etat symbolizes Edna's
growing independence and self-expression.
The color of gold suggests she is
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.
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
When Edna imagines a naked man while listening to Reisz's song, she sees him as
having no hope.
She perceives nakedness as
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 “
” 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
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
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
opening its eyes in a familiar world that it had never known" (115).
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.
New York: Dover, 1993. Print.
"lady in black"
because of her clothing. She
blends in with society
and, she shows
no signs of independence or a desire for self-expression.
clothing binds her emotions and prevents her from standing out.
accessories prevent her from partaking in the same activities as others,
and they help to
reduce her conformity
in fashion. Reisz is an
character and her clothing symbolizes her
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
to change as well as
the role of clothing.
Some of her
serve as comforting
constrict and confine
In the last chapter of the book, Edna advances to
wearing no clothes.
This nakedness shows Edna's freedom
which she has longed for.