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Posts by shrooms
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Dec 7, 2008
Writing Feedback / the awakening--Sometimes in literature the most important themes are develo [4]

The Awakening

Sometimes in literature the most important themes are developed in the scenes where a death or multiple deaths take place. By the end of the short novel The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, the Protagonist Edna Pontellier has committed suicide. Edna was a woman trapped in a passionless relationship looking to find herself. By the end of the short novel she is able to find herself. She is trying new things in life putting herself through hard obstacles that she must over come for her own awakening as a woman living in the late nineteenth century as the feminist movements prevail.

Edna Pontellier was married to her husband Leonce Pontellier who is also the father of her two young children. Leonce was a very materialistic man and a prosperous businessman. While he is able to provide the materialistic necessities in life and a wonderful vacation home to Edna and her children, he is unable to provide his wife with the passion she needs to save their marriage. As the summers pass at their vacation home in New Orleans, Edna watches from her porch with her deer friends Madame Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz as her husband journeys off to the pool hall to gamble and drink with the other prosperous men. Edna is being held back by her passionless husband as she sits and watches Madame Ratignolle paint, caged within the porches boundaries like a bird. She is perhaps a bird with a wounded wing afraid to attempt flying form the cage and afraid of flying herself in the wrong direction her life needs to go. Her life is passionless, she longs to find herself.

In the attempt to find herself, Edna is living her own awakening. She meets Robert Lebrun a young man who is passionate and dramatic and can give Edna everything she is looking for in a relationship. The more she is with Robert any passion she had for her husband fades away. Finding what she needs to live on from Robert, she is still in the process of leaving her children behind. Edna herself through her awakening is a child herself being reborn growing into an individualistic woman with views of her own. Robert is there in the beginning but being a ladies man, it is hard when he finds that he really is truly passionate for Edna and that she is the one girl that is perfect for him but he cannot stomach that he loves Edna so much that he has to flee to Mexico for he will never be able to act and show his true love for her. The love Robert and Edna have for one another is beyond superficial. Robert could not possibly be with Edna so he let her go through a letter he left her. It was time for her to continue her journey of her awakening.

In The Awakening, Edna Pontellier is being reborn as a child into a new world as she finds herself. The sea is a major theme of the novel representing how she is able to find herself. Freedom and escaping from the burdens of her passionless relationship with Leonce Pontellier to being abandoned by Robert Lebrun are shown through the symbolism of the sea. Being afraid to swim, it was with Robert where she was able to learn how to swim and over come her fears. It is as if when she is in the depths of the water she feels the depth to the human life and the depth to the universe in which she is living all alone. In the end scene where she commits suicide by drowning herself in the ocean, Edna is rebirthing herself, as if to be reborn into the sea as a cleansing baptismal way. She will no longer be lonely in her independence and will have gained the strength she needed to awaken herself and find who she really is.