The Awakening Symbolism

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lilmeggsa
Words 1600
Pages 7
A Journey for the Lost Soul
The Awakening by Kate Chopin was written during the 1800’s and was published in the year of 1899. During this time, the novel struck controversial subjects using a strong feminist tone, which underlined Chopin’s views on sex, marriage, and women of that period. In this novel, it is evident that freedom and feminism are used as interrelations of each other to express her feelings towards each subject. Some characters in The Awakening served as an encouraging force pushing Edna to go forth with her self-discoveries. In her journey, Edna travels through many stages of freedom to find herself; from exploring her creativity, to being freely aware of her sexually desires in the novel. Chopin uses the self-defining journey of Edna Pontellier to reveal her views of freedom as it relates to women, through a feminist lens during the 1800’s. According to Annetta Kelley, author of The Sparkle of Diamonds: Kate Chopin's Usage of Subtext in Stories and Novels, "The novel's most stirring poetic semblance is its continuous subliminal whispering of "the seductive, murmuring sea" (Kelley 334). Chopin uses Edna Pontellier to represent independence and free will, and the sea to represent Edna. She uses this character as a tool to exemplify her own thoughts on subjects such as sex, marriage, and what it is to be a free woman. The freedom Edna Pontellier desires so much throughout the novel becomes apparent to her primarily when she is at the beach with her close friend, Madame Ratignolle, one summer’s day and she seems to lose herself in the ocean. As Mrs. Pontellier sits and explains to Madame Ratignolle what she is pondering about so immensely she states "Edna is responsive to this "ocean" of undifferentiated feeling and its compelling voice. (Treu 31). It is through this event of her losing herself in the ocean that she begins her expedition…...

Similar Documents

The Awakening

...The religious Awakening of early America proved to be especially divisive because it (a) disrupted the prevailing social order in many towns and cities that utilized a church government, (b) encouraged emotional involvement in religion, and (c) made religion an individual matter. These factors combined to cause division within many of communities of the nascent country. Before the series of events know as the Awakening, many towns and cities had one church, and one preacher; who essentially had a monopoly on the local church goers. Not only were the people united religiously, but in many towns, the church was also the government. It was this in this state that traveling preachers know as itinerants found many of the communities they sought to evangelize. The itinerants traveled from place to place preaching doctrine that generally contrasted with what local leaders taught. At times, groups of them would enter a town, and in a swirl of religious fervor, win the people’s religious loyalty away from the existing order. This not only angered local leaders, but, also tended to divide local populations, as some believed the new doctrines that were preached, and others vehemently opposed the new ideas. Those who believed the itinerants were called the “new lights,” and those who stuck to the old ways were referred to as “old lights.” These theological differences became a serious problem in many communities because religion was also the main social structure. Those who came to...

Words: 820 - Pages: 4

The Awakening

...“The years that are gone seem like dreams—if one might go on sleeping and dreaming—but to wake up and find—oh! well! Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life.” Even though Edna’s awakening leads her to suffer from the wisdom and self-awareness it affords her, the year of joy and understanding that accompanies this suffering is worth more to Edna than a lifetime of the semi-conscious submission that defined her former existence. According to Edna, to live with self-awareness, possessed and controlled only by one’s own soul, offers an existence far richer than a life lived according to the restricting “illusions” that are imposed by the expectations of others. Edna Pontellier is a respectable woman of the late 1800s who not only acknowledges her sexual desires, but also has the strength and courage to act on them. Breaking through the role appointed to her by society, she discovers her own identity independent of her husband and children. Many of Kate Chopin’s other stories feature passionate, unconventional female protagonists, but none presents a heroine as openly rebellious as Edna. The details and specifics of Edna’s character are key to understanding the novel and its impact on generations of readers. At the beginning of the novel, Edna exists in a sort of semi-conscious state. She is comfortable in her marriage to Léonce and unaware of her own feelings and ambitions. Edna has always been a......

Words: 759 - Pages: 4

The Awakening

...Example Literary Research Paper Michelle Carerra Professor Krickstein English 1302 October 15, 2004 The Awakening of Gabriel Conroy Like the stories in Dubliners that lead up to it, “The Dead” dramatizes a moment of self-realization. The story portrays the gradual awakening of Gabriel Conroy, whose vision of his wife, Gretta, at the end of the story is at once a frustrating disappointment and a touching movement toward understanding and love. Robert Adams voices the view of more than one critic when he writes of “The Dead” that this “greatest of the stories in Dubliners stands apart from the rest, being warmer in tonality, richer in the writing, and more intimate in its subject matter” (83). Florence Walzl agrees when she writes that “’The Dead’ is markedly different from the earlier stories. . . .It is not only a longer, more fully developed narrative, but it presents a more kindly view of Ireland” (428). In one sense the “dead” of the title are all those who have lived and died, those who have gone before the festive inhabitants of Dublin who celebrate the Christmas season, Gabriel Conroy and Gretta among them. In another sense the dead are all those who, though alive and breathing, have lost their naturalness, their spontaneity, and most importantly, their passion. Gabriel, one of these, has lost touch with his past and with traditional Irish values. He looks instead toward continental Europe, toward the future, and toward change for an escape...

Words: 1783 - Pages: 8

Awakenings

...When conducting an experiment, there are a number of ways in which it can be carried out. In the movie Awakenings a variety of research methods are displayed. These are used by sociologists, and the majority of the scientific community. It can be seen in the film that certain conflicts erupt when protocol is not maintained. There is a fine line between being a compassionate researcher and becoming too emotionally involved with a test subject; this film demonstrates the problems that may arise when this barrier is broken and whether or not this is the ethical route to take. Sociologists often use the scientific method during a period of analysis. The scientific method is a systematic process used to approach certain problems or questions. It includes identifying the problem, reviewing the known information, formation of a hypothesis, creating a design used in research, collecting data and interpreting it, forming a conclusion, and finally forming new questions for the future. This all must be done objectively and that is critical. Sociological research uses the scientific methods to evaluate certain types of people or groups and their behaviors. As with all kinds of research, there are concerns. Even in sociology, which can be seen as a more mild form of scientific research that draws little concern from the public, there are ethical dilemmas. With humans, there is always the element of privacy and protection. Those individuals participating or under observation of a......

Words: 1386 - Pages: 6

The Awakening

...The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin A PENN STATE ELECTRONIC CLASSICS SERIES PUBLICATION The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin is a publication of the Pennsylvania State University. This Portable Document File is furnished free and without any charge of any kind. Any person using this document file, for any purpose, and in any way does so at his or her own risk. Neither the Pennsylvania State University nor Jim Manis, Faculty Editor, nor anyone associated with the Pennsylvania State University assumes any responsibility for the material contained within the document or for the file as an electronic transmission, in any way. The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin, the Pennsylvania State University, Electronic Classics Series, Jim Manis, Faculty Editor, Hazleton, PA 182021291 is a Portable Document File produced as part of an ongoing student publication project to bring classical works of literature, in English, to free and easy access of those wishing to make use of them. Cover Design: Jim Manis Copyright © 2008 The Pennsylvania State University The Pennsylvania State University is an equal opportunity university. Kate Chopin (born Katherine O'Flaherty on February 8, 1850 – August 22, 1904) was an American author of short stories and novels, mostly of a Louisiana Creole background. She is now considered to have been a forerunner of feminist authors of the 20th century. —Courtesy......

Words: 65260 - Pages: 262

The Awakening

...Khiree Cross Ap Summer Reading Assignment The Awakening By: Kate Chopin July 18, 2013 Part One The setting of The Awakening so far is in the Grand Isle, a popular place for a summer vacation where wealthy people go. The Grand Isle is a spot where all the wealthy Creoles, from New Orleans, go for the summer to relax, and have fun. The time setting seems to be in the early 1900s because of the things they do and the lack of technology. The husband of Edna, Leonce, go away on a trip and on this trip he sends her chocolates which no one in the present time eats anymore. The tone of The Awakening at the start is a relaxed and peaceful one. As the story progresses is becomes a more serious and emotional one. It is serious because Leonce feels as if his wife is carless for her family. She doesn't show too much love nor is affection towards them and that becoming a problem. It is also emotional because Edna is clueless to what he is talking about and feels bad after he tells her off before he leaves for his trip. She is lost and wants to find her own independence, or find herself. Part Two The three characters that I will characterize from this book are Edna, Madamoiselle, and Robert. Edna is a caring and loving wife and mother. She is married to a rich businessman Leonce who is the provider for their family. In the story so far Edna seems as if she is lost or missing something. She seems tired of the lifestyle she is living and is nonchalant about everything. She likes......

Words: 2432 - Pages: 10

The Awakening

...AWAKENING Edna Pontillier is the main character in the novel The Awakening which was written by Kate Chopin. She is a character that readers can both identify and sympathize with at times, and yet her actions and traits might make readers to see her as an unsympathetic character at other times, and even in my case, find her to be extremely selfish and unlikeable. Readers may sympathize with her because after all she lived in a time where women were regarded as nothing but mere objects and did not have the rights that women do nowadays. However, she can also be viewed as a selfish woman and a bad mother because she decides to fall in love with another man even though she is married, and because she decides to neglect her children. As I first started reading this novel, I found it quite easy to sympathize with Edna. Chopin starts off the novel with introducing Edna and explains that she is "married to a wealthy and attentive husband, the mother of two healthy children” and “from all appearances [she] has everything to make a woman happy.” Soon after reading more of this novel I realized that statement could not be any further from the truth. In fact, I realized that not only is Edna not happy, instead she is truly miserable. She happens to be married to someone who looks at her the same way that he would regard “a valuable piece of personal property.” She is not attracted to him and is stuck at home doing chores because that is what society expected of a woman back then. I......

Words: 667 - Pages: 3

The Awakening

...definition of feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” (MW 236). Nothing in that definition leads me to conclude, as Edna seems to believe, that motherhood is the one thing that will retard her individual growth. Although feminists claim that The Awakening by Kate Chopin portrays a woman stifled by a society controlled by men, ultimately the decision to act selfishly or selflessly belongs to Edna. There is more than one choice given in the text of who and what Edna could be. Edna could become the selfless “mother woman” that society is looking for, or the more selfishly motivated single woman who makes her own way in the world, but what Edna also fails to realize is that every individual has their own way of fulfilling each role. Edna has a concrete example of each of these roles to follow in her life, in Mademmoiselle Reisz and Adele Ratignolle. Both of Edna’s role models are set into certain “types” yet find a way to stray from them, and make them unique to their situation. Change doesn’t have to be dramatic to make a difference as Peter Ramos states in his article, "Unbearable Realism: Freedom, Ethics and Identity in The Awakening" “Both Mademmoiselle Reisz and Adele Ratignolle explicitly inhabit social identities available to them only to actively and creatively transform them. In doing so they implicitly demonstrate the options available to women of this time period” (Ramos 148). Yet Edna’s problem is that she......

Words: 2145 - Pages: 9

The Awakening

...Feminism and The Awakening Gender discrimination and feminism played a great role in the novel The Awakening by Kate Chopin. This novel was highly controversial when it was first published. “The Awakening deals with the condition of the nineteenth century woman in marriage, and has been more recently rediscovered and recognized as an overtly feminist text for these same reasons.” (Marquand) This novel was written during a time where a women’s place in society was at home taking care of the children and providing for the husband. This novel, contains the obstructions, the victories and the defeats that Edna dealt due to the demanding requirements of society. Society placed a lot of emphasis on women and in Edna’s case she was expected to be the perfect wife, perfect mother and bow her husband’s every need. Some women in The Awakening are complying with what society expects of women, characters such as Adele plays right into what society believes women should be. Adele is a woman who embodies what society all the qualities of what a woman-mother should be. Edna defies the expectations of society to find her own freedom. Although Edna's suicide seems to be a waste of her time and energy for her tussle against society and the status quo. The Awakening by Chopin is known as one the first feminist novels and it led the way for future feminist novelist. The Awakening lays the foundation and inspires women to take charge of their lives to get whatever they want out of......

Words: 2649 - Pages: 11

Awakenings

...Leonard began to show facial and body tics that he could not control as he grew more agitated about his confinement. Dr. Malcolm Sayer and the hospital staff gloated in the success of L-Dopa with his group of patients. He soon found out that it is a temporary measure. Leonard was the first to awake, and also the first to demonstrate the limited duration of the awakening. Leonard's tics grew more and more noticeable and he started to drag more as he walked. Patients are all forced to observe what will eventually happen to them. Leonard began to suffer from full body spasms and could hardly move. He, however, tolerated the pain very well. He asked Dr. Sayer to film him, in hopes that he would some day contribute to research that may eventually help others. Leonard realized what was happening to him, and has a last lunch with Paula where he tells her he cannot see her anymore. Leonard and Dr. Sayer reconciled their differences, but soon after Leonard returned to his catatonic state. Each patient eventually returned to catatonia no matter how much their L-Dopa dosages was increased. Sayer told a group of grant donors that although the awakening did not last, another kind took place — one of learning to appreciate and live life. The film ended with Dr. Sayer standing over Leonard’s catatonic body, with his hands on Leonard's hands. "Let's begin." Sayer said. ...

Words: 455 - Pages: 2

Symbolism and Irony "The Awakening"

...“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 language to express Edna Pontellier’s feelings as she found her way to her happiness and freedom. Throughout the text, Chopin encourages readers to think but using situational irony. “Irony- the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.” (Merriam-Webster). While reading, readers are made to think the opposite of what actually happened at the end of the story. In the beginning of the story, Edna’s husband Leonce tells his wife to send his friend Robert away when he starts to bore her. Unknown to Leonce that he was actually the one who was boring Edna. “"Well, send him about his business when he bores you, Edna," instructed her husband as he prepared to leave.” (Chopin 1). Another example of irony is......

Words: 713 - Pages: 3

The Awakening

...off with the nanny and does not always heed the signs when they are ill. As the narrator states in one of the important quotes from “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin,“She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart and sometimes forget them” (24). She treats her husband in the same way since as soon as she realizes her dream to live independently, she leaves him without much of a thought. What makes Edna’s character trait of irresponsibility only that (as opposed to purposeful neglect or crassness) is that she sees her quest to discover herself as something of the highest importance. She still wishes to maintain a good relationship, especially with her children, but her trait of irresponsibility does not permit this. In addition to being irresponsible, Edna is also very childish. These two are different traits because whereas the irresponsibility has to do with her not following through on her obligations to her family, her childishness is more related to her emotional immaturity. She has the habit of letting her emotions get the best of her and they often cloud reality and make her prone to irresponsible behavior. The narrator frequently alludes to Edna’s childishness and in one particular instance, when she was overwhelmed with emotions as Edna begins the process of awakening, when entering the water says she was a, “tottering, stumbling, clutching child, who of a sudden realizes its powers, and walks for the......

Words: 499 - Pages: 2

The Awakening

...In the novel, The Awakening, by Katie Chopin, main character Edna Pontellier struggles to find her identity between being her outer self and her inner self. Her outer self, as Chopin describes, is the one that conforms based on society’s expectations of her. Edna’s inner self, on the other hand, is the one that questions her outer self and is authentic to who she truly is when free of society’s norms. As the novel progresses, Edna’s desire to identify more with her inner self rather than conforming to her outer self increases; Edna begins to devote more time towards her paintings and furthermore, moves out from her residency with her husband. However, in the process of accepting her inner self, Edna is no longer able to fit in as a functioning member of society. She as a result becomes frustrated and depressed. Furthermore, not even those who are closest to her (for example, Robert) are able to understand her needs and desires. As a result comes the ending: Edna’s ultimate death in a search for independence (her swim out to the sea). Such ending comes as a shock with no real solution for Edna other than death. However, such ending is conclusive because of its realistic parallels to society that Chopin is trying to highlight. Chopin’s ending of the book serves as a commentary of society’s expectations of women. Chopin’s main message, as highlighted through the ending, is the expectations society places onto women is an ultimatum forcing women to either conform to its norms......

Words: 872 - Pages: 4

Awakenings

...Gina Ventura January 23, 2013 Civil Rights Movements Class Dr. Meadors Film: Awakenings The Film Awakenings was based on the Civil Rights movements. It involved history of its participants, its leaders, and those who were against it. The Movement was based on the stoping of segregation in the South. There was segregation in bathrooms, schools, waiting rooms, and the most chaotic one, buses. During this time people took chances in wanting to be heard, they fought for their freedom, and sought to fight for the grand prize which was their freedom. They believed that America was for all its citizens and everyone should be treated equally. When African Americans started taking actions there were more negatives than positives. They only secure their own rights instead of being treated like they were. Some took actions in asking their white owners for their freedom, but in doing so they knew they had to take it slowly and not push them too fast because if they did they could have lost their livelihood. On May 17, 1954 was when the case of Brown V BOE occurred. It was the case in which schools were segregated and did not allow any black kids to study in any white public school. When brought to court it was also declared unconstitutional. This was one of many cases that were declared unconstitutional. Then in September 1955, the case of Emmett Til came to place in Money, Mississippi. He was from Chicago and had gone to visit his relatives one of them being Moses Wright. He......

Words: 657 - Pages: 3

The Awakening

...Roles of the Woman at the late 19th Century The book, The Awakening, portrays the routine daily life of women and men during this era.. The men always provided the bread and butter for their whole family. The women where seen mainly as an item on a peddle stool that the men had possession of. Plenty of women during this time just put up with how they where treated but many also formulated another idea of what their role should be. These types of women were portrayed by the character Edna Pontellier in the book. She went through the book exploring her idea and it was the death of her at the end. In the beginning of The Awakening, Edna was in the full role of the idealized women. She obeyed her husband and did things for her kids. You find that she doesn’t like how she lives and then adopts the idea that women can be fully independent. She breaks off from the path that is expected from a woman and starts to rebel. She falls in love with another man while still married, where it is the custom for women to just stick to insignificant flirting, Edna takes the flirting seriously. The other women in this book are said to just participate in a modest flirting but to where it won’t give them looks. People soon start to become aware of that she is acting a bit out of the ordinary for a woman and start to become suspicious of her. In the book, it also shows a little of the typical daily routine of a woman. As we look back on how 19th century women lived, we see that they were......

Words: 547 - Pages: 3