Explore the Theme of Identity in the Awakening and the Handmaid's Tale

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With emphasis on The Awakening and wider reference to A Handmaid’s Tale, explore how both authors present the theme of Identity across the novels. Throughout the history of modern and post-modern literature, the theme of identity is always apparent and truly shapes the direction of the novel. In the case of The Awakening, it is through the physical and mental adaptations of Edna Pontellier conveyed by Chopin that the events of the novel are shaped; with her rebellious tendencies resulting in her supposed suicide at the climax of the novel. The way these traits and characteristics are revealed through the structure of The Awakening and A Handmaid’s Tale can be said to display the fundamentality of Identity as a theme in liberating literature, from as early as the 19th Century to more modern writing. Chopin’s main method of shaping Edna’s identity in particular is arguably through her surroundings and those she seeks company with. The most obvious example of a surrounding that has a certain influence on Edna is of course the sea. Living in land-locked New Orleans for the entirety of her life, the sight of the sea is made out to be fascinating to Edna; it implants a thought to explore in her inquisitive mind. This curiosity is expressed as ‘Edna Pontellier, casting her eyes about, had finally kept them at rest upon the sea’, displaying that this is all she can really focus on and is all she is currently interested in. The sea in many ways seems to actually be a symbol for Edna’s ‘awakening’, the most obvious example of this coming during chapter 6, our first sight of Edna discovering herself. The imagery of the sea being ‘seductive; never ceasing’ at the end of this chapter provides the sea as an explanation to the reader for Edna’s deep thinking, who prior to this was being referred to as ‘Mrs Pontellier’, and after as ‘Edna

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