"The Awakening", Kate Chopin in depth AP lit/comp report, discussing 7 topics, each topic separated by #

Essay by chickenbob2002High School, 12th gradeA+, February 2004

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2) There are two major themes to Kate Chopin's The Awakening. The first of these themes is the freedom from social expectations, the second is suicide which seems to be the solution to the problems caused by the first theme. These themes are present throughout the entire book although suicide doesn't become apparent until later in the story. In the very first lines of the story the theme of social freedom begins to form. The author depicts a caged parrot which is expected to speak and contrasts it with the free mocking bird that does what it likes with "maddening persistence." In this case, it is a cage that represents social expectations. The bird within must conform; every once in awhile speaking how it desired, while the mockingbird outside is free to sing as it pleases. The next appearance of this theme is when Mrs. Pontellier is impressed by their lack of prudery.

This is when she first begins to actually awaken as she presented with topics of discussion spoken with ease among the inhabitants of the island that she had not heard previously in her social group. The first of the many restraints society had placed around her begins to fall as she becomes more accustomed to the actions of her friends and neighbors. The first sign that Edna may actually be able to break free from these societal constraints is when she decides to swim out "where no woman had swum before." Besides providing her with her first sense of independence, it shows the societal bonds breaking as she swam out alone instead of joining the group in their sports and bouts. This is also the first foreshadowing of the eventual suicide when she "grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength."

Soon after that, Edna shatters the...