Style and Technique (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Nature imagery underlines the plot and meaning. Although authors typically associate death with autumn and winter, Brentley’s supposed death occurs in the spring. The trees are “all aquiver” with new life. Rain has fallen, purifying the air, and now the clouds are parting to show “patches of blue sky.” This scene mirrors Louise’s situation. The death of Brentley marks the end of the winter of her discontent; her soul can awake from its torpor. She can realize the full potential of her life, so she, like the trees, feels aquiver with life. The clouds again represent her married life, which cast shadows on her happiness, but now the horizon of her life is clearing. As she contemplates her future, she imagines “spring days and summer days” only, not autumn or winter days, because she links herself to the seasons of rebirth and ripening.
In contrast to the world of nature is the cloistered, confining house, symbol of domesticity. In her own room she looks through an open window, another symbol of her freedom. The window does not intervene between her and nature and allows her the scope of infinite vision. She herself locks and unlocks the door to her room, admitting or excluding whomever she wants. She has what Virginia Woolf stressed as so important, a room of her own. However, it is only a temporary, and finally an inadequate, refuge. She leaves it, as she must, to rejoin her sister and Richards; in unlocking her door she paradoxically...
(The entire section is 402 words.)
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Compare and Contrast
Topics for Further Study
What Do I Read Next?
Bibliography and Further Reading
Bibliography (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Beer, Janet. Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Studies in Short Fiction. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
Beer, Janet, and Elizabeth Nolan, eds. Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge, 2004.
Bonner, Thomas, Jr. The Kate Chopin Companion. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988.
Boren, Lynda S., and Sara de Saussure Davis, eds. Kate Chopin Reconsidered: Beyond the Bayou. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992.
Koloski, Bernard. Kate Chopin: A Study of the Short Fiction....
(The entire section is 159 words.)