Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening seems to have the perfect life. She is married to the best husband known in the town, has two beautiful boys and has a lovely house. Every woman envies her life. Edna wishes for a different life though. It seems she is never happy, although her life seems to be great. Her close friend, Adèle teaches Edna a lot about self expression. Through Adèle, Edna learns she can break traditional rules of women, and show her individuality more.
Through knowing Adèle, Edna meets Robert, a young gentleman that picks one married woman a year to “attend” to for a summer. This particular summer, Edna was the woman he chose. As they got to know each other, Edna began to feel young again. Robert taught her to swim in the lake. Edna swam farther than any woman has gone before. Edna soon became depressed when she was with her husband because she misses her freedom that she felt with Robert. She felt unappreciated.
Mademoiselle Reisz, a pianist, was the only person that could cheer Edna up. Edna loved to listen to her songs. It also made Mademoiselle Reisz feel appreciated because no one liked to listen to her songs. These two women boosted each others confidence.
When Robert returns to the town, he tells Edna he loves her, but can not be with her, since she is married to another man. Edna wanted Robert to stay with her, but was forced to go when Adele was giving birth to a child. While she was aiding her friend, Robert left, with only a note saying farwell. Edna became upset and drowned herself in the lake in which she learned to swim.
1. In the opening scene, a parrot was talking to a mocking bird. The parrot is talking in English and french while the mocking bird is singing back to the parrot. What do you think this may symbolize?
2. What do you think the lake symbolizes where Edna learned to swim, and also took her own life?