Symbolaw Symbols And Symbolism Birds As A Symbol In The Awakening

621 words - 2 pages

Birds as the Symbol of Bondage and Freedom in The Awakening

Birds that are enclosed in cages indicate solitude and bondage; those that roam in the open air above the seas represent freedom and happiness. The captivity or freedom of these animals is the symbolism that Chopin uses to illustrate the captivity Edna experiences from society and the freedom she desires.  Through this vivid bird imagery in her novel The Awakening, Chopin elucidates the struggle and freedom Edna encounters.

From the beginning of the novel, the author supplies bird imagery to represent captivity and solitude. The "green and yellow parrot, which h[angs] in a cage outside the door [of Madame Lebrun's home], ke[eps] repeating over and over: 'Allez vous-en,' [come in]" (43).  The pleas of the parrot parallel with those of Edna, a desire for communication. She longs for a companion to whom she can pour her heart and soul into, without being reminded of the restrictions and cares of Victorian society; a relationship that she did not have with her husband, but with Robert. Though Edna longs for companionship, she loathes captivity. Her fear of captivity can be seen throughout the novel with her arrival and departure at Grande Isle. Unlike New Orleans, Grande Isle is less land locked, and Edna is free to escape into the ocean at any time. The vision of the Pontellier home also embodies the captivity of Edna. "Their home from the outside looked like a prison, with iron bars before the door and lower windows;" it also had a gate in the front (110). This bird cage image of Edna's home further illustrates the captivity of her life. The bars are the restrictions of society, and the locked gates represent the difficulties she face in attempting to overcome these...

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