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Importance of Symbols

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 09:02 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 65.8 
  • Words: 1576
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In all novels the use of symbols are what make the story feel so real to the reader. A symbol as simple as a bird can mean so much more then what you see.   Whereas a symbol as complicated as the sea, can mean so much less then what you thought. It is a person perception that brings them to the true meaning of a specific symbol. Symbols are message within a word that must be analyzed to discover. In The Awakening, Kate Chopin conveys her ideas by using carefully crafted symbols that reflect her characters' thoughts and futures.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          


Early in the novel, while Edna attempts to escape from society's strong grasp, birds emphasize her entanglement by forecasting her actions and monitor her development by reflecting her feelings. The novel opens with the image of a bird, trapped and unable to communicate: "a green and yellow parrot, which hung in the cage outside the door...could speak a little Spanish, and also a language that nobody understood" (1). Like the bird, Edna feels trapped and believes that society has imprisoned her. Her marriage to Mr. Pontellier suffocates her and keeps her from being free. At the same time, she remains shut apart from society like the bird in the cage, and different ideas and feelings prevent her from communicating. The only person in society that begins to understand her, Robert, eventually decides that he must remain a member of society instead of staying with her. He says that "you [Edna] were not free; you were Leonce Pontellier's wife" and that "[Robert] was demented, dreaming of wild, impossible things...[such as] men who had set their wives free" (108). Robert does not want to do


something wild and unacceptable to society. In a situation parallel to that of Edna's, the only bird that understands the parrot...

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