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Chopins The Awakening - Essay Example

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The Sea is one of the most potent symbols in Chopin’s The Awakening. It clearly represents escape from the pressures that she faces, but there are more nuanced ways of examining this symbol…
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Chopins The Awakening
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Download file to see previous pages When one examines the sea through a psychological lens, it represents the paradox of freedom: that happiness requires both freedom and fellowship, and that freedom is inherently also isolation, with the ultimate freedom being the ultimate isolation.
The sea functions as a symbol of freedom, clearly, but it is also a symbol of intense isolation. The novel begins the development of this symbol from the very beginning of the novel, calling the “abysses of solitude” a place of “inward contemplation” (Chopin, 1899, Ch. 4 Par. 6-7). Yet this is not necessarily posited in positive ways: while the sea is certainly seductive for its allowance of isolation, there is little to show that this is actually good for Edna. In fact, she gets most of her satisfaction through interactions with others, especially her lover.
The sea’s connection to isolation, beyond simple freedom, is further expanded throughout this work through its symbolic connection with death and disappointment at those who surround one in one’s life. A particular quote demonstrates this symbolic connection, and bears close scrutiny. Robert whispers a story about a ghost of the sea, who searches every year for “one mortal to hold him company, worthy of being exalted for a few hours into his realm of the semi-celestials,” before finally noting that “his search has always hitherto been fruitless, and he has sunk back, disheartened, into the sea” (Chopin 1899, Ch 10, Par. 30). ...
?completely naked” in a way that she never could have been before, but this independence brings no solace – in fact, her last memory is of the companionship of her father, something she cannot have while out on the sea (Chopin, 1899, Ch. 39, Par. 33). Works Cited Chopin, K (1899). The Awakening. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/160/160-h/160-h.htm Your Name Prof’s Name Course Code Date Part II: Paraphrase Original paragraph I: “The linguistic strategy of economy of stereotype is prominent in Kate Chopin's The Awakening. Edna has a “quadroon nurse” (7) who is looked upon as a “huge encumbrance” (7) by Edna's children because it is the nurse who performs the duties of making sure the children look presentable. Edna is described as “not a mother-woman” (8), and this description is helpful in understanding why Edna eventually must end her life. But the nurse is never described or designated as anything other than a “quadroon.” This word signifies that the nurse is black, and therefore easily dismissed from Edna's world. But if the reader does not dismiss the nurse, it becomes obvious that “quadroon” tells the reader nothing about what the nurse looks like. Is she light? Is she dark? Fat? Skinny? She is described as meek; she follows the children “at the respectful distance which they required her to observe” (12). She knows her position in the world, and this contrasts sharply with Edna's realization of her own position, which is revealed a few lines after the nurse is seen following the children.” (Powell, 2009, pg. 277) Original paragraph II: “Has the nurse been forgotten? Does the nurse not know her place in the world? This is an example of what Morrison calls metonymic displacement. The reader must not consider the ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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