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Free At Last Essay

1230 words - 5 pages

Free at Last

Men and women constrained by the pressure of society tend to reject it. The stress of culture conforms the public into what is accepted and conventional. Experiencing loss and loneliness can make a person hate these social norms, while others do not see the pain and struggle. Those who liberate themselves from the social order become who they really are. These people go against what is established as right and follow their own rules from within their hearts. Such determination and steadfastness comes from a strong and courageous human being. Who knew these individuals were woman? These attributes are displayed in two of literature’s most famous and inspiring ...view middle of the document...

In “The Soul Selects her own Society”, Emily Dickinson depicts a queen or woman of high authority making a difficult decision. Ignoring all temptations, the woman sticks to her decision and shuts herself off from society. In the final stanza the speaker is not entirely happy with the idea of being cutoff and behaving like stone instead of flesh and blood (paraphrase poem analysis). The queen leaves taking responsibility for her decision and, when reminiscing, regrets it. Both works contain a shift from accepting to rejecting the societal norm in the tone.

Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening and Emily Dickinson’s poem “The Soul Selects her own Society” compare through the use of symbolism. Symbolism is something in literature used to represent something else. In The Awakening, Edna loves the sea, and its vast waves of possibility. “The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul…” (Chopin 18). The sea in Edna’s life represents the birth of a new person from the depths of it’s waters and how it is endlessly changing. Edna is stripped of whatever bonds she has to the old housewife she once was and resurfaces with new, natural feelings. “She felt like some new-born creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world that it had never known” (Chopin 156). The sea symbolizes Edna’s true nature.

In “The Soul Selects her own Society”, the second stanza is very symbolic. “Unmoved, she notes the chariot’s pausing/at her low Gate” (Dickinson 5-6). The gate is low and can be easily crossed, which adds more difficulty to the decision she had to make. Also in the second stanza, worldly status’s come into play as chariots and an emperor invade the woman’s life offering her their wealth and power (paraphrase poem analysis). The emperor and chariots symbolize how her decision is made and nothing will change it. Many people would never let this offer get away; most even take it instantly. This woman is one of the few who deny this proposal for her soul is unmoved. The temptations try to convince her to take up her role in society and yet, the woman stands her ground, freeing herself. These two pieces of literature use symbolism to show the affects of the decisions of the woman.

Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening and Emily Dickinson’s poem “The Soul Selects her own Society” also compare on the use of characterization. Characterization is describing and developing a character in a piece of literature. Edna Pontellier in The Awakening is a slender woman but not quite dainty. She paints and draws showing...

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