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Transcript of The Awakening
Kate Chopin uses elements such as figurative language, symbolism, and tone to show that the theme of her novel,
, is calling into question the bondage of the expected role of women.
"The voice of the sea is seductive: never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a soul in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in the mazes of inward contemplation" (Chopin 161-162).
In The Awakening Chopin moves Edna through 3 different residences. Each residence signifies each stage of her awakening. The first was the house in Grand Isle. This house was luxurious and full of adventure. The house in Grand Isle is where the audience sees her curiosity begin.
The audience is able to see Kate Chopin's theme of bondage to roles in
through her use of figurative language, symbolism, imagery, and tone.
"-but it was too late; the shore ws far behind her, and her strength was gone" (Chopin 227).
Chopin uses personification here. She gives the sea life and describes it like a person. Chopin uses personification to show how the sea or "freedom" is so tempting to Edna. Chopin wants her audience to see how she wants to lose herself in its waves instead of sticking to the status quo and doing what is expected of her.
"Once she stopped, and taking off her wedding ring, flung it upon the carpet. when she saw it lying there, she stamped her heel upon it, striving to crush it. But her small boot heel did not make an indenture, not a mark upon the the little glittering circlet.". . . "Edna held out her hand, and taking her ring, slipped it upon her finger" (Chopin 103-104).
Edna's wedding ring is a symbol of her bondage to Leonce and to her role as the perfect mother and wife. Here, Chopin shows that Edna wants to be free of her role and she takes the burden of that bondage off, but then the audience sees that she is forced to take that burden back up as she places the ring back on her finger.
"A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water" (Chopin 226).
Chopin begins the book with a bird in a cage symbolizing Edna. Even though we do not know anything about Edna, this is a forshadowing for what her feelings are. Edna is the bird in the cage that is trapped. At the end before she gives herself over to the sea, Chopin tells of a single bird who is injured flying above Edna and then crashes into the water. This represents how Edna is broken and worn and is ready to give herself over.
The second house is her mansion that is owned by Leonce, her husband. In this house the reader sees that she finds her bondage here and continues to fulfill her curiosities.
The last house Chopin shows her in is her own house that she calls the pigeon house. She has finally distanced herself from her "role" and "expectations and does what she wants now. She finds who she is in this house.
Chopin uses irony to set the tone for the end and climax of the novel. This irony helps the reader to understand that she did kill herself as well as why she did it. Edna gave herslef up to the see and to freedom because she knew that she would never be accepted in society. Since she could not be free in their eyes she committed the ultimate act of freedom.