The Awakening: My Critical Essay

2618 Words Mar 27th, 2012 11 Pages
Tony Orellana
Mrs. Johnson
AP Literature
March 6th, 2012

Title and Author
The title of the novel is The Awakening by Kate Chopin.
Setting and its Significance
The Awakening is set in New Orleans at the end of the Victorian era. The significance of the novel being set in the Victorian era is the way women are treated and looked at. For a typical Victorian woman, she was expected to be faithful and do what the husband desires, take care of the children, and basically be entertainment for man. If affects the novel because the main character will go through awakenings that will challenge this social norm.
Point of View and the Significances The point of view of The Awakening is third person omniscient that looks over mostly at Edna
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As the novel progresses, Edna is able to escape from the hands of Leonce Pontellier, and she moves into a small house down the street in which she calls the pigeon house. The symbol of the bird is used here by saying she may be able to release herself from Leonce but she isn’t able to release herself from society, that she if forever trapped. In the end of the novel, before Edna’s tragedy, a bird with a broken wing crashes into the sea. This bird can be connected with the advice that Mademoiselle Reisz told Edna that she needed strong wings to soar. The connection for shadows Edna’s tragedy, and reveals her complete failure to find complete freedom and happiness.
Themes
a) One cannot escape society’s grasp
Throughout the novel, the bird is continually used to connect Edna’s status. In the beginning the caged bird shows that Edna is trapped by the cage of society. She eventually moves out of Mr. Pontellier’s house, yet moves into the pigeon house. She is still trapped under the grasp of society. b) True love and attaining it is only a fantasy
When Edna receives gifts from Mr. Pontellier she is forced to realize that she loves him, yet what she also realizes is that she truly does not love him. In her romance with Robert, she feels great affection and love for him. He as well feels that same for her, yet he cannot corrupt the union of marriage by being with Edna so he decides to leave and not further the relationship. Edna’s inability to attain
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