Freedom In The Awakening By Kate Chopin

1207 words - 5 pages

Does death make people free or are they born with their natural freedom and find the heavy hands of society clasping around us as we grow older and our minds become more influenced by the people around us? Throughout the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier finds herself pondering the thought of freedom and what it takes to achieve being free. There are many symbols, people and times of Edna’s self-refection when we see examples of this.
First of all, The Awakening was enriched with symbols and motifs for Chopin to get her point across for those who were willing to look for the deeper meaning. One of the most prominent symbols of freedom was the birds that kept on appearing. ...view middle of the document...

It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth,”(pg 217) What Mademoiselle Reisz means by this that Edna must truly posess the will power to be free, if she does then she could start a movement and people would admire her strength. Or if she doesn’t succeed it will be heart breaking and freedom will need to be achieved a different way and for Edna this means death. When she about to get into the water to go swimming for her last time she sees “a bird with a broken wing… fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water”(pg 301). Although she sees the bird she also sees herself in the bird, something that wasn’t able to reach the freedom they wanted without giving up their lives in the process. Edna is no different than a bird in the cage wanting freedom, but can’t live on her own.
Secondly, the people in Edna’s life make a big impact on the way she sees freedom, there are two opposite sides of the spectrum. On one hand the is the ideal mother woman a “women [that] idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and …efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels,”(pg 6).Adele Ratignolle “was the embodiment of every womanly grace and charm” and “her beauty was all there, flaming and apparent”(pg 6). No matter how hard Adele tried to teach Edna of her ways, Edna “wouldn't give [her]self” for her children although she “would give [her] life for [her] children,” (pg 121). This was not something that Adele could understand she felt that her whole life and her whole self must be devoted to her family. Edna didn’t want to give up her sense of self for her children and the more she saw the selflessness in Adele the more she wanted to be free. Anything that can change a perspective can be dangerous that is why Robert was an alluring charter. He was a player and was very different form Edna’s husband. He provided a different perspective of what her life could be if she picked a different path. Before the scene when Edna starts to swim she has been too frightened to try “unless there was a hand nearby … [to] reach out and reassure her,” (pg70). Robert was that hand that she could lead her to freedom. Just as easy as...

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