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Feminist approach to The Awakening - Essay Example

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Summary
Edna wants nothing more than to be free in making decisions in her life. She craves to be with Robert Lebrun, but she cannot, because she is married and with children. She…
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Feminist approach to The Awakening

Download file to see previous pages... ark gender inequalities between men and women, and so awakened women like Edna chooses suicide over a life of limitations that her womanhood brings to her.
Birds stand for imprisonment and the possibilities of being free. The mockingbird and parrot at Madame Lebrun’s house represent one of the freedoms that women lack: freedom of speech. These chattering birds irritate Léonce: “Mr. Pontellier had the privilege of quitting their society when [these birds] ceased to be entertaining” (Chopin 2). He shares the sentiments of other men who find women’s stories as inane. At the same time, the power to leave women as they talk represents the power of men over women’s freedom of expression. They can overlook the female voice and get away with it. Women, on the contrary, are forced to listen to and to obey what men tell them. Birds, in addition, stand for the feeling of being trapped as a woman. A woman is ensnared already as a woman, and more so, when she is married. One time, Edna weeps after Léonce charges her for being an irresponsible mother, and she feels: “An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish” (Chopin 14-15). She slowly realizes that her gender has put her inside a strong figurative cage. Birds also signify freedom. The ability to open one’s wings and to fly is an action of complete freedom. Mlle. Reisz tells Edna to develop stronger wings for her artistic desires. Wings represent the strength of flight; it suggests the lack of boundaries in the sky. As a married woman, nevertheless, Edna cannot stretch her wings and fly, because she is in a cage of her gendered roles as a wife and a mother.
The sea stands for Edna’s yearning for escape. Edna sees the ocean as her only escape from her limited world. In the sea, she can swim and flee from her husband’s controls of her actions. She can leave behind her roles as a mother too. She believes ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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