The Awakening Questions and Answers
by Kate Chopin

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In The Awakening, what does the parrot say?

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This classic story about the position of women in a patriarchal society begins unforgettably with the words of a parrot which "hung in a cage outside the door." The words that it keeps on repeating, again and again, can be translated as: "Go away! Go away! For heaven's sake!" Interestingly, however, it is important to consider how Chopin might be using the parrot to suggest several themes in her novel. Note that the parrot is presented in a cage. This has led some critics to argue that the very beginning of the story introduces such key themes of caging and freedom through the presence of this parrot. Others have also argued that the parrot, through repeating the phrase "go away," actually represents the multiple voices in the novel and perhaps expresses the subconscious feelings of the protagonist towards her husband. It is clear that a key theme of the novel is the way that Edna is "encaged" by her husband and society and put on display, just like the parrot.

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