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This novel is so rich with literary elements to be evaluated that you could probably find 5 examples in each chapter or maybe even on each page. Chopin has a masterful way with words and imagery that transport the reader to the time and place as well as into the mind of Edna Pontellier. Here are a few literary examples to get you started.
The novel open with a bird in a cage speaking in French saying, "Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi!" (Go away, go away, for heaven's sake). Right there, the reader is transported to French Creole New Orleans with her use of these French words. In addition to that, the fact that bird is in a cage is clear symbol of something beautiful that is entrapped, and by the end of chapter 1 the reader recognizes that Edna is perhaps like this caged bird, a woman trapped in her marriage, tied to her children, and caged too by the expectations of Creole society. It even says that the bird can speak "a language which nobody understood" which will come to represent Edna in that she too has an understanding of herself that those around her are absolutely incapable of understanding.
As the novel progresses, we see Edna's subtle changes. In chapter 5 she listen to the sea with its "sonorous murmur [that] reached her like a loving but imperative entreaty." This line is filled with interesting diction. The first word to consider is sonorous -- it means a deep or rich sound, but it suggest something grand and even eloquent in the sound. The next two significant words seem to be a potential contradiction "loving" with "imperative" because loving seems gentle and imperative connotes a demand, but what an interesting combination to be lovingly commanded to listen to sea and be drawn into contemplation of it. The sea is intensely compelling to Edna, and this grows as the novel progresses. In the next chapter we are explicitly told that the "voice of the sea speaks to the soul." There is no place deeper than that.
By the time we are in chapter 19, Edna is quite dissatisfied with her life and how she living it, but she is still uncertain what to make of her feelings. There is great parallelism in the final two paragraphs. The first paragraph says that "there were days when she was very happy without knowing why" and the last paragraph says "there were days when she was unhappy, she did not know way." Each paragraph goes on to explain those two opposite emotions and the reader is as confused as Edna as to what to make of her character. Chopin has created a character that is intriguing and complex, making us want to read on.
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