The Awakening by Chopin introduces major themes in the opening scene.

Essay by kelso2utdHigh School, 12th grade June 2004

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The significant themes of Chopin's The Awakening are introduced immediately in the opening scene of the bird in the cage. Edna feels trapped in the small realm of her home, as the bird is trapped in its cage. A major theme of the novel, liberation verses conformity is introduced because although Edna struggles if she is liberated, she is really like the bird because she doesn't have a choice. Society makes the choice for her. The indifferent manner in which Mr. Pontellier reacts to the bird introduces how men are depicted and their role in the novel.

As the bird is trapped in the cage, Edna feels trapped in her home. As a woman, her role given to her by society is to have her home as center of her universe. Edna, on the other hand, does not feel that role is fitting for her. However, she feels pressured to be like the other women in her society, like Madame Ratignolle.

For example is when Leonce has to coerce her to go check on her son in bed because he might be ill. Edna insisted that he is well until she grudgingly when to go check on him. The woman's realm was very limited in the period of the time that the book took place because even when Edna was home, there was little she could or wanted to do. She could paint, draw, socialize with visitors - but other than that, all her duties belonged to the family. When Robert falls in love with Edna, he left effortlessly for Mexico. As a male, his world is much larger than Edna's and she is left trapped in a life with Lenoce and their children that she does not desire.

Liberation verses conformity is a major theme introduced...