Kate Chopins The Awakening

The novel opens on the Grand Isle, a summer retreat for the wealthy French Creoles of New Orleans. Leonce Pontellier, a wealthy New Orleans business man of forty years of age, reads his newspaper. Meanwhile, Mrs. Lebrun's parrot repeats phrases in English and French and her mockingbird sings in "fluty notes." Leonce retreats to his own cottage to escape the birds' noisy chatter. The cottages are a scene of bustling Sunday activity. A lady in black walks back and forth in front of the cottages with her rosary beads in hand. Mr. Pontellier's four- and five-year-old sons play under the watchful eye of their quadroon nurse.
Leonce smokes a cigar and watches as his wife, Edna, and young Robert ...

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Edna when he enters the bedroom that night. He relates his experiences of the evening, but she responds only with sleepy half-answers. Her lack of interest in his evening bothers him. He checks on his sons and informs Edna that Raul seems to have a fever. She replies that the child was fine earlier, and he criticizes her lack of motherly concern.
After a cursory visit to the boys' bedroom, Edna refuses to answer any of her husband's inquiries. Leonce soon falls asleep, but Edna is wide awake. She sits on the porch and weeps quietly, listening to the sea. It is not an unsual event, but she recognizes that Leonce is often kind and loving.
The next morning, Leonce departs to attend his business for the following week. Everyone gathers to bid good-bye because he is a popular man. He sends Edna a box of bonbons from New Orleans, and she shares them with her friends. They declare that Leonce is a wonderful husband.
Leonce notes with displeasure that Edna is not very motherly. The ...

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her own children into her arms. Robert urges Edna to go for a swim. She complains that she is too tired, but eventually she gives into Robert's entreaties. He places her straw hat on her head and they move towards the beach.
The Awakening is about Edna's dissatisfaction with the social constraints on women's freedom. Therefore, it is significant that it opens with two caged birds. Throughout the novel, Edna feels that marriage enslaves her to an identity she for which she is not suited. The parrot is an expensive bird valued for its beauty. The mockingbird is fairly common and plain, and it is valued for the music it provides. These two birds function as metaphors for the position of ...

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Added: 10/4/2005 05:51:33 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 10531
Pages: 39

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