Symbolism In The Awakening

976 Words4 Pages
During the period of the middle to end of the 19th century to the early 20th century, an advocacy for women's rights called first-wave feminism took place. During this time women fought for suffrage. Some of the big leaders of this movement were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. In addition to these women, many female writers took their sentiments and turned them into books like Kate Chopin. Kate Chopin wrote many short stories including “The Story of an Hour” and “Désirée’s Baby” but her most famous book The Awakening, also her most controversial book, was published in 1899 and was banned because of its controversial portrayal of women and marriage. In The Awakening Chopin utilizes the sea, birds, and houses as symbols in order to critique society’s repressive expectations of women. She includes these symbols to show that society practices are wrong and to show that equality needs to be established for the common good. Throughout the novel The Awakening, Chopin utilizes the sea as a symbol to advance her critique on society. Chopin says on page 31, “A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before.” This quotation presents the first time that the sea is mentioned in the book. The sea symbolizes an escape and freedom from society for Edna.
Open Document