Avian Symbolism in The Awakening
Kate Chopin consistently uses avian symbolism in the novel The Awakening to represent and Enlighten Edna Pontellier. She begins the novel with the image of a caged bird and throughout the story other birds and avian images appear representing freedom, failure, and choices that Edna, the story’s main character, must make. Throughout The Awakening Chopin uses flight and descriptions of birds to express the psychological state of mind of
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the parrot, not ready to follow the loveless, amoral path of Arobin and the men that she is sure will follow him, and only half-understanding the message of Mademoiselle Reisz, in her death she finally becomes a free woman. As she waded into the cold ocean water at the novel’s end, Edna Pontellier was "flying free" to her death.
Chopin, Kate. “The Awakening.” The Awakening and Other Stories. Hertfordshire:
Wordsworth Editions Limited, 1995. 3 – 117.