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Freedom Iin Kate Chopin's The Awakening

810 words - 4 pages

Finding Freedom in The Awakening

In her novel, The Awakening, Kate Chopin shows Edna Pontellier¹s confrontations with society, her imprisonment in marriage and Edna¹s exploration of her own sexuality. Chopin also portrays Edna as a rebel, who after her experiences at Grand Isle wants to live a full and a free life and not to follow the rules of society. Edna¹s life ends in her suicide, but her death does not come as a surprise. Chopin foreshadows Edna¹s death by the use of nature and Edna¹s connection to it; also by the use of symbols, especially the symbolic meaning of a bird; and by the use of many different characters in the novel, such as Robert Lebrun, Mademoiselle Reisz and ...view middle of the document...

Mademoiselle Reisz tells Edna that people are cruel and if Edna doesn¹t feel strong enough, she will be like a "weakling bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth"(533). This conversation foreshadows Edna¹s lack of strength and her death. As Edna takes her last swim, she sees the bird "with a broken wing", falling "down to the water"(558). Edna feels weak; she "falls down" into the waters of Grand Isle.


When Edna meets Robert Lebrun at Grand Isle, she experiences an awakening from her "life-long, stupid dream", as she recalls her life (553). She is ready to give her heart to Robert, but he flees Grand Isle and Edna before he ruins his reputation as a "good Creole". Robert knows that "the Creole husband is never jealous" about the harmless flirting and as a "good Creole", Robert cannot go beyond these social boundaries (475). Robert follows the rules of his society; his departure foreshadows his future actions towards Edna. She returns to her "pigeon-house" and finds that Robert is "not waiting for her" and the house is "empty"(556). Robert is gone again. Edna remembers the warning of Mademoiselle Reisz about the cruelty of society. Edna is scared to face the cruelty alone. Edna feels that without Robert by her side she is helpless. Edna...

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