The Awakening Essay

The Awakening Essay-27
The narrator writes, “the voice of [the] sea speaks to the soul.The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” This is perhaps the most sensual and passionate chapter of the book, devoted entirely to depictions of the sea and to Edna’s sexual awakening.“She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength.

The narrator writes, “the voice of [the] sea speaks to the soul.The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” This is perhaps the most sensual and passionate chapter of the book, devoted entirely to depictions of the sea and to Edna’s sexual awakening.“She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength.

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This minor but important awakening gives rise to Edna Pontellier’s most obvious and demanding awakening, one which resonates throughout the book: the sexual.

However, though her sexual awakening may seem to be the most important issue in the novel, Chopin slips in a final awakening at the end, one that is hinted at early on but not resolved until the last minute: Edna’s awakening to her true humanity and role as a mother.

Edna and Robert are attracted to one another from the first meeting, though they do not realize it.

They unwittingly flirt with each other, so that only the narrator and reader understand what is going on.

She realized that she had neglected her reading, and determined to start anew upon a course of improving studies, now that her time was completely her own to do with as she liked.” That Edna is reading Ralph Waldo Emerson is significant, especially at this point in the novel, when she is starting a new life of her own.

This new life is signaled by a “sleep-waking” metaphor, one which, as Ringe points out, “is an important romantic image for the emergence of the self or soul into a new life.” A seemingly excessive amount of the novel is devoted to Edna sleeping, but when one takes into account that, for each time Edna falls asleep, she must also awaken, one begins to realize that this is just another way of Chopin demonstrating Edna’s personal awakening.

As Edna Pontellier begins to realize that she is an individual, capable of making individual choices without being another’s , she begins to explore what these choices might bring her.

Her first sexual awakening comes in the form of Robert Lebrun.

Art, as Mademoiselle Reisz defines it, is also a test of individuality.

But, like the bird with its broken wings struggling along the shore, Edna perhaps fails this final test, never blossoming into her true potential because she is distracted and confused along the way.

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