“I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself” (62). Edna tries explaining to Madame Ratignolle that this is something she is just beginning to understand from herself. She does not know why but she cannot bring herself to give up herself for her kids. The author Kate Chopin, who wrote the book The Awakening, explains through her novel societies’ demands and wishes for a woman, such as Edna, with a family. The book takes place in the late 19th century in New Orleans. In this time period however, Edna must become the obedient wife and stay home to take care of her kids and her husband. This however, is what Edna wants to do the least. The quote reveals right away Edna’s desire to become free of what society has placed
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Images of birds, from the caged bird at the story's beginning to the symbolic one of the "pigeon-house" into which Edna retreats, suggest that the New Woman is a bird with broken wings.” Edna is like the hurt bird because she is different from her friends. McDonald is saying that Edna’s new personality is like a bird with the broken wings in the way that she is not able to reach her goal of being free because of what has happened to her.
Chopin also uses the symbolism of art as a way for Edna to leave her daily life and focus on herself. “Mrs. Pontellier had brought her sketching materials, which she sometimes dabbled with in an un-professional way. She liked the dabbling. She felt in it a satisfaction of a kind which no other employment afforded her.” (5.12) Edna finds satisfaction in art that she cannot find elsewhere. This activity is solely her own
She pursues this for no purpose other than enjoyment. “She waited for the material pictures which she thought would gather and blaze before her imagination. She waited in vain. She saw no pictures of solitude, of hope, of longing, or of despair. But the very passions themselves were aroused within her soul, swaying it, lashing it, as the waves daily beat upon her splendid body. She trembled, she was choking, and the tears blinded her.” (34) This takes Edna on a deep emotional journey and it unleashes Edna’s inner passions. The playing reveals to Edna what she is missing from her life. Edna