The Awakening By Kate Chopin

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Kate Chopin is viewed as a woman ahead of her time, who explored themes that were unconventional to her era such as freedom and individuality, sexuality, and the role of women in society. In the novel “The Awakening,” published in 1899, Chopin uses protagonist Edna Pontellier to confront the social conventions that women faced in the Victorian Era, and the strict rules by the Creole society that limited women to the primary role of wife and mother. Chopin uses symbolism to express these ideas, and emotions as Edna awakens to a world of new possibilities. In this analysis, we will examine two primary symbols of the story, being birds and houses that Kate Chopin masterfully uses to illustrate Edna’s confinement and her journey toward liberation and independence. In the 1890s, married women’s rights was sorely limited. Women’s roles were to care for their husbands, children and household while keeping up their appearance. Men such as Edna’s husband Mr. Pontellier considered women their property rather than an individual. For instance, when he finds his wife has stayed to long in the sun he states, “You are burnt beyond recognition, he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of property which has suffered some damage.“ (Chopin 3) Chopin used the symbol of a bird to show how Edna felt trapped under these conditions. The story states, “A green and yellow parrot which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over. Allez vous-en! Allez

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