In The Awakening, when Edna finally learns to swim she swims out alone far from the other people.  How does this event change her and what are some examples of this change?

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 When Edna learns finally to swim she gains great confidence in herself, her own 'powers' and 'strength':

A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before. (chapter 10)

The sea is an important symbol in this story. It represents individual liberation. When Edna learns to swim she learns to rely on herself. This is the 'awakening' of the title: her growing awareness of her own independent identity, where she does not need other relationships, even those of her family. This is symbolized in the way that she shuns the company of other swimmers.


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laurto | Student

When she discovers she can swim, there is an incredible amount of confidence in her and she feels that she free. This, of course, is a symbol for freedom because one of the biggest symbols in the novel is the ocean and water. It was a short escape from her present life.