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Use of Imagery in Chopin’s The Awakening Essay

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Use of Imagery in Chopin’s The Awakening


Several passages in The Awakening struck me because of their similar imagery—a bird, wings, and nudity. The first passage I looked at is in Chapter 9 where Edna Pontellier has a vision of a naked man “standing beside a desolate rock” (47) on a beach who is watching a bird fly away. This image was evoked by a one particular piece that Mme Ratignolle plays which Edna significantly calls “Solitude. ” Apparently Edna frequently envisions certain images while listening to music: “Musical strains, well rendered, had a way of evoking pictures in her mind” (47). Listening to this piece Edna envisions a solitary, naked man with an “attitude […] of hopeless resignation” (47). This scene presents solitude in many different ways. The figure standing alone and naked near the “desolate rock” illustrates the mood of solitude and resignation.

I was reminded of that scene at the end of the novel in chapter 39 where we find a description of a very similar situation. Now it is Edna Pontellier herself standing alone on the beach at Grand Isle. She takes ...


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