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Symbol And Irony In The Awakening By Kate Chopin

949 words - 4 pages

“The Awakening”
Symbolism, Irony

In Kate Chopin's short story “The Awakening”, the voice of the story portrays a woman with sexual aspirations, and moral female social rules in search for independence and self discovery. The story is based on the 19th century woman. During this time women barely had any freedom, were not recognized within the society and had no choice but to me submissive to their husbands. The main character of the story named Edna is portrayed to be a happy woman because she has everything; a wealthy, attentive husband, and two children. Thoughtout the story the truth about Edna’s unhappiness is revealed. The voice of the story uses symbolism, irony, and figurative ...view middle of the document...

” (Chopin 1)This is ironic because in a way, Leonce has a double standard of the roles of his wife Edna in the marriage. He does not always want to be there for her, but in return always expects her to be there for him. The main irony of the story is that Edna Pontellier finally finds herself, when she does this she comes to the conclusion that she cannot attain her desired true freedom in her present life situation. She knows the world is not ready to accept her for who she is so she concludes that death is her only escape to freedom.
“Symbolism the particular idea or quality that is expressed by a symbol” (Merriam-Webster). The story presents numerous examples of symbolism. Concrete examples and also ideas were mentioned to symbolize different things throughout the story. The sea, birds, cigars, and people represented something important in relation to Edna Pontellier’s life situations. The symbol of the sea in this story was empowerment. It was in the sea that Edna learned how to swim which meant that she was finally beginning to take control of her body. In “The Awakening”, Chopin says “The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace." This statement also proves that the sea also symbolizes a lover; something close and dear to her heart. The next example of symbolism in the story is the birds. There were two types of birds mentioned in the story; the mockingbird, and the limping bird. The caged mockingbird represents Edna’s caged life. She is trapped in a life that she does not want but is forced to accept because of society. The limping bird represents Edna herself. She finds herself and then realizes that she still will not be accepted...

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