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How does the text use clothing and garments (or the lack thereof) to portray Edna’s...

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zac2k4 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted January 11, 2012 at 6:24 PM via web

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How does the text use clothing and garments (or the lack thereof) to portray Edna’s rebellion against Victorian norms?

So far i have come up with a few examples, but that is about it. My first example is in the begginig of the book, when Edna wa sunburny and not wearing any clothes. I said that she rebelled in the way of not acting like her husbands property. I can not for the life of me figure this out.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:48 AM (Answer #2)

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The most stunning example is at the very end of the book, when Edna is completely naked as she walks into the sea for her final swim. At the beginning of the book, she is presumably wearing a swim suit, but at the end she is totally nude.

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jacquelyncarmichael | Student , Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 8, 2012 at 8:05 AM (Answer #3)

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In comparison with Adele who was clothed appropriately and meticulously. Edna dresses unconventionally yet practically. This is just another juxtaposition that supports Edna's contrast with the social norms of women in society. Adele is seen as the "ideal" woman. Where as Adele at least in her husbands eyes is seen as a anti-maternal and careless woman. The nudity in the end scene also mentions she feels "pinched" and restrained in her bathing suit it is almost as if she is casting off the last of her old self and being re-born. Throughout the novel the symbollism of a caged bird appears repeatedly and from the screeching parrot to the bird with the broken wing it echoes a femministic value for independence and freedom.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 27, 2012 at 12:17 PM (Answer #4)

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Another example of the the clothing in from early in the novel when Adele and Edna are walking on the beach. Adele is wearing pure white clothing which suggests her pure attitude about Creole society and her role in that society. Edna, on the other hand, is wearing a white dress that has a fine threaded line of brown through it. It is a subtle detail, but it there for a reason as it suggests that Edna acts in the manner of the Creole, but not exactly; not perfectly, like Adele.

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