The Caged Bird In The Awakening

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The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a literary work full of symbolism that adds meaning to the story and to the characters. Throughout the story Edna Pontieller expresses her progress, in The Awakening, as a new woman by using the symbolism of the caged birds, art and music, houses, and the sea.
From the very beginning of the story, the caged birds play a main role in symbolizing Edna’s entrapment. In the book the parrots kept repeating ““ Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That’s all right!”” (1.) Which in English means, “Go away! Go away! For heaven’s sake!” They said it in a language nobody could understand, just as Edna’s feelings are difficult for anybody else to understand. In the book, it says, "When she heard it there came before her imagination the figure of a man standing beside a desolate rock on the seashore. He was naked. His attitude was one of hopeless resignation as he looked toward a distant bird winging its flight away from him." (26.) Edna is showing her desire for freedom, for escaping her roles as a mother and a wife, and her desire to escape from her husband, Leonce, who keeps her in a social cage. After these two incidents the birds are absent in a point of symbolism until Edna starts to express her desire for
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The sea represents Edna’s freedom and individualism. Another encounter with the sea was at the end of the story when Edna drowned herself. Chopin writes, “She did not look back now, but went on and on…She thought of Leonce and the children. They were a part of her life. But the need not have thought they could possess her, body and soul” (115.) Edna commits suicide because Robert is now gone, she knows she has her husband and children but that is not enough. Edna’s desires for freedom are achieved by drowning herself. Through both of these incidents, the sea represents an escape for Edna, from the roles of a married woman and the pressures from

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