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the AWAKENING

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Introduction

Edna Ponteiller, the protagonist in The Awakening, is perhaps one of most controversial feminist characters in English Fiction. The ideals and values of individuality and freedom to defy conventions of society, which she exemplifies was pugnacious and censorious in eyes of the then Creole Society. Kate Chopin has achieved in portraying Edna in favorable light by supporting Edna in her endeavors. It is by making us sympathize with Edna's conditions that Chopin succeeds in communicating the significance of respecting the principles for which Edna epitomizes. The metaphysical connection that is established between the caged parrot which introduces us to the novel and Edna imbues in our senses a pity for Edna's prognosticated predicaments. By using this symbol of a caged and misunderstood parrot to mirror Edna's life the tone of despondency and miscomprehension is established. This tone infiltrates in our senses, captivating us in an anticipation of distress, and dread that influence our sympathies for Edna. Conflicts and sufferings are key tools in arousing our sympathies. Hardly has the plot of The Awakening developed when we are thrust into what is the defining altercation between Edna and Leonce regarding the moralistic issue of the children. Leonce is portrayed to be repetitive and vexatious (He talked in a monotonous, insistent way) which seeks to enlist our sympathies for Edna as we realize that his concerns are in essence of a lower order of significance. This short dispute is followed by the first of many to come, intense inner contemplations that envision Edna as a thoroughly forlorn woman. ...read more.

Middle

is dealt with by the society actually puts her in a favorable and comfortable external environment where there exists no force that compels her to do any task. So the question arises in our minds: What is the root of Edna's distress. The perplexity of her despondency is solved eventually and it is this sympathy that the narrator is enforcing on us that make us feel her eventual decision is acceptable and justified. As Edna's process of awakening becomes more developed and sophisticated we feel an appalling yet a tingling pity for her actions. We as time passes comprehend her sentiments and her inflicting opinion on Adele's life: (A pity for that colorless existence, which never uplifted its possessor beyond the region of blind contentment, in which no moment of anguish ever visited her soul, in which she would never have the taste of life's delirium). Though shocking at first, with some inward contemplation we apprehend Edna's point of view and her perceptions, and after all comprehension is an indirect form sympathizing. Symbolism has the pertinent ability to permeate in our consciousness an imposing image that captures our imagination. So when Mme Reiz gives Edna in her act of fatalism the metaphorical value of a bird trying to fly beyond the constraining powers of society, a journey which she prefigures to have an ominous sense of failure, our sympathy for her destiny is captivated.(The bird that would soar beyond the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. ...read more.

Conclusion

we strangely feel justifying her assertions. For us as readers to cast aside our sympathies for harmless and impeccable children who require care-taking in favor of a seemingly selfish lady and her independent desire is truly an enchanting work of art by Kate Chopin. Why do we support Edna in spite of her moralistic discrepancies? I think we must admit that we have never seen these children in any way discontented with life, while on the other hand Edna through Kate's artistic weaving is a pitiful (new born creature opening its eyes in a familiar world that it has never known). Therefore with the death of Edna ends this novel, and in retrospect we must note that through out the entire book the narrator had intensively focused on Edna, and this technique following up till her death is efficacious in imbuing in us an engaging sense of sympathy for her plenary character. One impacting symbolism that ends, and crucially procures our sympathies is that of a (A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water). Fulfilling Mme Reiz's apocalyptical prophecies Edna is a wounded bird whose death is ominous, and therefore we are to respect and mourn for her death realizing just how convincing her ideals were but alas there was no one in the society to support and enliven her fascinated imaginations and aspirations. ...read more.

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