The Awakening Literary Analysis Essay
What do birds and a pigeon house symbolize in the novel The Awakening? How are they connected?
Kate Chopin’s The Awakening was written during a time when women longed to be free from the societal and gender norms that were imposed on them. This novel is significant because, besides the fact that it was written within that time period, it is also about a woman who wants to be free.
The Awakening delves into the life of Edna Pontellier, and her journey to find liberation. Edna feels trapped, and this can be observed in the main symbols laid out by Chopin throughout the story: the birds and the pigeon house.
Chopin begins the story with a caged parrot. This bird has been domesticated and placed inside a cage as a pet for entertaining friends and guests. Like the parrot, Edna is her husband’s property used to entertain his friends, and to show the community his value and worth (Metzger 20). Eventually, Edna moves out of her husband’s house to a new one which they call the “pigeon house,” because not only does it look like one, but it is also small (Chopin 92). In the pigeon house, Edna has a sense of freedom and independence. However, albeit through this house she is able to escape her husband’s cage, it is still another form of confinement. In this small house, she is still restrained by society’s limits upon her as a woman (Kelly).
Overall, although the symbols mentioned above appear in completely different points in Edna’s life, both can be associated with some form of imprisonment and unhappiness. In the end, it is not explicitly stated whether or not she is intended to drown and take her own life. However, that night, Edna does indeed find freedom, although this freedom is of the permanent kind.
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Boson Books. Accessed 7 Aug. 2017
Kelly, Maureen. “CliffsNotes on The Awakening.” CliffsNotes, https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/a/the-awakening/summary-and-analysis/chapter-29. Accessed 8 Aug. 2017.
Metzger, Sheri. CliffsComplete The Awakening. Hungry Minds, Inc., 2001.
“The Awakening” by Kate Chopin is a must-read for everyone who is interested in the topic of feminism, female psychology, and emancipation. If you haven’t read this book yet, we highly recommend you to do so. If you have already read this novel and want to learn more about Kate Chopin’s book, read our “The Awakening” essay posted above.
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