Essay title: The Awakening
Art in this story, to me, is a symbol of freedom and failure. Edna starts to paint and become more artistic. I never get the impression that her art is necessarily great. But she starts to express herself more and starts to see parts of herself that she hadn’t noticed before. Her friend Mademoiselle Reisz uses art to differentiate herself from others. To make herself unique and it’s very personal to her as you can see from when the group tried to get her to play the piano and she said she would only do it for Edna.
She can also see that Edna is very unique and is awakening to a new self. She explains that a bird’s wings must be strong to soar above tradition and prejudice. That she has seen people who tried to rise above it, but weren’t strong enough.You can interpret the ending as a failure for Edna since she was unable to deal with people not accepting her new lifestyle.Birds are symbolic all through the story, to me, signifying many things.
The fact that she opens up the story with the mockingbird and parrot indicates there has to be some other meaning. At the beginning, the birds are free to be awake and loud, even annoying the guests. But they were never free to leave.Much like women throughout the story, they are free to speak about anything, but they are never free to leave.
I think they symbolize freedom to leave as she left her husband; she left for the pigeon house.Mademoiselle Reisz uses birds as a metaphor for people who rise above the expectations society has of women. Edna also hears a song on the piano that brings an image to her mind of a man alone on a rock, with a bird flying away. I think this symbolizes her loneliness, nobody truly understands her except Mademoiselle Reisz. The bird is spreading its wings and flying above the societal expectations. At the beginning of the story Edna is fully clothed and the story ends with her totally nude. Clothing symbolizes the shedding of societal rules.
The more she awakens inside her, the less her clothes reflect herself. So, she has less and less the more she discovers her true self.Adele and Madame Leburn seem to also be making clothes. This probably symbolizes their following the societal rules, creating more and more to wear.
This brings another symbol to light, regarding the societal rules. The piano music throughout the text, I believe symbolizes the treatment of women within the society..