The Nature of Solitude in Chopin's Novel, The Awakening

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The Nature of Solitude in Chopin's Novel, The Awakening

"The name of the piece was something else, but she called it ‘Solitude.' 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."(47)

"All along the white beach, up and down, there was no living thing in sight. A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water...when she was there beside the sea, absolutely alone, she cast the unpleasant, pricking garments from her, and for the first time in her life she stood naked in
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The word "desolate" is used to describe the rock, offering up connotations of a barren, dismal lifelessness. The figure of the man is "naked," or exposed and defenseless. His demeanor reflects "hopeless resignation" as he views a "distant" bird "winging" "away from him." Here resignation can be taken to mean an unresisting acceptance of something as inescapable and as a surrender. Looking at this passage in this light, I cannot help but connect it with Robert. After finally vocalizing his love for Edna, Robert is in a way "naked," free of the pretenses of socially conscious manners. Following this admission, however, Robert leaves off waiting for Edna, gives up on fulfilling his love, due, I think, in many ways to the social consequences that this would surely bring. Thus Robert too is "hopelessly resigned" to social moires which influence him to let his forbidden love "wing" away from him. This passage then foreshadows both Robert's resignation and Edna's own experience at the end of the novel.
The second passage repeats several of the same images. On the beach there is "no living thing in sight" and Edna is "absolutely alone." Thus the "desolation" and "solitude" from the first passage reappear. The figure of the bird is also depicted again, only in this instance the bird has a "broken wing" and "reel[s]" down, "disabled" towards the water, closer to the figure of Edna
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