Edna, however, finds both role models lacking and begins to see that the life of freedom and individuality that she wants goes against both society and nature. Mademoiselle Reisz believes that only through a life of solitude and a disregard for society can an artist define herself and create real art.
In this scene, the sea clearly represents new birth, as Edna enters the waters "naked in the open air," as vulnerable as a newborn infant. For Edna, to be awake is "to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her.
Adele is described as being a fairly talented pianist, yet even the very personal act of creating music is performed for the sake of her children. Adele also brings constant attention to her pregnancy in ways Edna finds to be somewhat inappropriate. In Chapter X, for example, Edna swims out into the ocean, only to feel a "certain ungovernable dread.
Chopin notes that Edna "had done all the thinking which was necessary" to realize her fundamental isolation from this old world, and her need to enter a new one, "when she lay awake upon the sofa till morning.
Sleep and wakefulness also serve as powerful metaphors throughout the book-not surprising, given its title! She sees that men are allowed to live lives of sexual fulfillment, while not being expected to bear or care for their children, and develop a personality and individual self through participation in the business world.
Edna is fighting against the societal and natural structures of motherhood that force her to be defined by her title as wife of Leonce Pontellier and mother of Raoul and Etienne Pontellier, instead of being her own, self-defined individual.
Mademoiselle Reisz is the exile. She is, however, welcomed by the sea into a pure kind of "sleep" as the sea, like a mother soothing a drowsy child, is "enfolding [her] body in its soft, close embrace. How few of us ever emerge from such beginning! Throughout the novel, the sea is almost a character in itself; Chopin makes many references to its "voice," which calls to and even seduces Edna into her newly "awakened" life.
Mademoiselle Reisz is a woman devoid of motherly tendencies and sexuality. Edna confides in her a desire to become a painter, and Mademoiselle Reisz cautions her about the nature of the artistic lifestyle. At times, Chopin makes the metaphor explicit; for instance, see the "Mass" Edna celebrates after she wakes up in Chapter XIII see comments in "Summary and Analysis" for this chapter -having literally awakened from her nap, Edna metaphorically awakens to the vivid details of the world about her, and she asks, like a feminine Rip Van Winkle, "How many years have I slept?
Edna explores her newfound lifestyle by taking up gambling at the racetrack and beginning to sell her paintings. She pities Adele and finds herself unsuited for the lifestyle of the mother-woman. Edna first finds a sense of masculine freedom when Leonce goes to New York and Raoul and Etienne go to Iberville to stay with their grandmother.
The inevitability of her fate as a male-defined creature brings her to a state of despair, and she frees herself the only way she can, through suicide. The sea is both life and death; indeed, there can be no "real" life for Edna without the death of her old "life.
Adele represents all four attributes of True Womanhood as defined by the Cult of Domesticity. One of her most shocking actions was her denial of her role as a mother and wife. Yet even as Chopin thus alludes to the chaotic nature of the sea, she also draws attention to the sea as a source of life and new birth.
Edna finds that the life of the mother-woman fails to satisfy her desire for an existence free from definition. Adele is very proud of her title of mother, and one might say motherhood is what she was fated for. She tries to explain these reservations about loss of identity to Adele.
To be awake is, in a sense, to be enlightened. She upset many nineteenth century expectations for women and their supposed roles. After this potential has been brought to her attention, Edna cannot imagine herself living the asexual, artistic lifestyle of Mademoiselle Reisz, even if it might be a way to find the individuality that she is searching for.Chopin wrote The Awakening in fairly formal prose that conveys a certain sense of gravity to the story.
This seriousness is exacerbated by the novel’s point of view—the third person omniscient Writing Style. This paper will discuss author Kate Chopin's use of description in her novel, The Awakening.
The paper will place particular emphasis upon the metaphorical relationship which Chopin has created between the novel's protagonist, Edna Pontellier, and nature. ANALYSIS BY CHAPTER. The Awakening () Kate Chopin () I. The novel opens with symbolism rather than a conventional expository introduction, contrary to The birds become a metaphor of “conflicting attitudes” in Edna Pontellier that, along with the inattention of her husband, eventually lead to her death when the.
The sea is a dominant metaphor in The Awakening, which Chopin employs to both familiar and novel effect. Since the days of ancient near eastern creation epics, the sea has stood for primordial chaos and danger; clearly, the sea takes on these characteristics in Chopin's novel as well.
Analysis. Already Chopin establishes some key symbolism in the novel: Edna is the green-and-yellow parrot telling everyone to "go away, for God's sake." Unable to leave the cage, the parrot must ask everyone to leave when it would prefer to simply fly away.
Kate Chopin’s The Awakening was a bold piece of fiction in its time, and protagonist Edna Pontellier was a controversial character.
She upset many nineteenth century expectations for women and their supposed roles. One of her most shocking actions was her denial of her role as a mother and wife.Download