Throughout The Awakening, water the main motif serves as a catalyst to the metamorphosis of Edna.

1200 WordsApr 23, 20195 Pages
Throughout The Awakening, water the main motif serves as a catalyst to the metamorphosis of Edna. During the length of the story Edna goes through a process of changes that coincides with the presence of water. Water serves as a conduit for liberation and empowerment that facilitates the rebirth and even death of Edna. In this essay I will argue that the motif of water represents the continual transformations that occur within Edna throughout the story. The story opens on the Grand Isle off the coast of Louisiana, completely surrounded by water with the Gulf of Mexico to the South. Here the protagonist Edna and her family often stay for summer vacations. The Grand Isle separated by other landmasses by water represents the independence…show more content…
The sea initials a cascade of transformations like waves crashing onto the shore. These changes triggered by Edna’s realization that she isn’t satisfied by her roles of a woman in her own family. Compared to Adele Ratignolle, who is the “mother-woman” in the story, fully devoted to her children and worships her husband. Mrs. Pontellier does not fulfill that role of “mother-woman”, she allows a quadroon nurse take care of her children and shows little interest in her husband’s affairs. She also does not fulfill the role of ”artist” such as, Mademoiselle Reisz. Who is not married or have children but devoted her life to being a pianist. The sea is the catalyst that begins the change within Edna to discover her own identity and empowering her to fulfill selfish desires. One of the most significant metamorphosis for Edna occurs when she learns to swim on her own. This occurs immediately after Mademoiselle Reisz emotionally moves her, serenading Edna by playing a piece of music on the piano. The timing of learning to swim by herself under the moonlight is no coincidence. As the music played by Reisz had the power to emotionally move Edna so does the moon have the power to control the tides of the ocean. The constant changes in the water represent the transformations within Edna. “She turned her face seaward to gather in an impression of space and solitude, which the
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