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Physically and Mentally Crossing Boundaries in "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin.

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Introduction

Literature is often about crossing boundaries, both physically and mentally. In what ways, and to what extent, does the crossing of boundaries contribute to Kate Chopin's "The Awakening?" In Kate Chopin's "The Awakening", the author uses physical and mental boundaries which the main character, Edna crosses throughout the story as a symbol for the freedom she yearns and all the boundaries she has to overcome before finally achieving it. One of the most important boundaries when she swims in the ocean for the first time. The sea is such a vast and endless that it can symbolize freedom. Although Edna has cross societies boundaries, Edna is still at this point, attached to her family and responsibility however this changes after she goes into the ocean. When Edna swims in the ocean she experiences self discovery and an unknown awareness. ...read more.

Middle

Before she leaves with Robert we can see her defiance towards her husband as she realizes that she always did what she said without questioning it. The night before Edna became aware of the senselessness of obeying everything her husband says, this is due to her previous self discovery. While swimming is crossing boundaries mentally, going to Ch�ni�re Isle is her physical action in crossing society's boundaries. After leaving church in the Island Edna takes a nap and then wakes up feeling "glowing" and "full of energy" this shows how Edna feel positively after crossing societies boundaries instead of guilt or shame. Additionally, it is interesting to notice that Edna feels guilt and shame after becoming romantically involved with Alc�e, however it is important that she doesn't feel unfaithful towards her husband but rather towards Robert. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is symbolic that the house is referred to as the "pigeon house" which is a symbolism for a birds cage and although Ednas intention is to become free this is a foreshadowing that Edna still had some mental boundaries she has to overcome. These mental boundaries are involved with Edna herself, because she realizes that although she changed and acted against society everyone around her specifically Robert had not changed. This leads to the ultimate boundary Edna has to cross for society to no longer oppress Edna and her desires and dreams, death. Once again the ocean is representative of freedom, but this time Edna does not return to shore. This shows how the first time she went swimming she did find freedom but it was only temporary because it was only within herself and not others. Essentially, every boundary that Edna crosses represents a stepping stone in the process of her awakening towards the only way to escape societies constrains, freedom. ...read more.

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