The Awakening Essay

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Lauren Deffendall English 102 Prof. Schnepf 31 March 2014 1. The novel “The Awakening” is intentionally about Edna’s need to “be free” from society, her sexuality, and her independence. In the beginning of the novel, Leonce sits reading the paper while two pet birds, one a parrot and the other a mocking bird, are making a great deal of noise. These birds symbolize a few key ideas of the book. One being the parrot represents the idea that women should be “caged” and mimic what society wants from women, to worship their husbands and children and maintain a “lady like” appearance. The parrot speaks “a language which nobody understood, unless it was the mocking bird that hung on the other side of the door, whistling its fluffy notes”, caged and misunderstood, the parrot represents Edna’s predicament that she was going through at that time. Later in the novel, we meet Mademoiselle Reisz, a pianist, who gives Edna the courage to become independent. The mocking bird represents Mademoiselle Reisz, a performing being that refuses to conform to what society wishes her to be. Freud’s psychoanalytic approach of the id, ego, and superego (though little of) are very present through out the novel. The id takes place when Edna confesses that she is “uneven and impulsive” when it comes to her children. She expressed that she felt relief when they would be sent away to see their grandmother, and that the responsibilities of motherhood is “fate had not fitted her”. The id also takes place with her affection and longing for Robert. Though society frowned upon lusting after another man, Edna couldn’t help but to allow herself to love another man besides her own. While Leonce was away, Edna wrote to him explaining that she will be moving into her own home. Knowing that her actions are irresponsible, she feels no shame or remorse. After she has moved into her “pigeon

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