Why did Chopin chose to repeat so much phrasing and ideas of Chapter 6 with the last two pages of the novel. How do you account for the differences? Compare and contrast chapter 6 and the last two...

Why did Chopin chose to repeat so much phrasing and ideas of Chapter 6 with the last two pages of the novel. How do you account for the differences?

Compare and contrast chapter 6 and the last two pages of the novel. Account for the differences you find in these passages at the end of the novel. Talk about these two excerpts as touchstones for the novel.

Expert Answers
bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 6 is a break from the plot of the novel. Edna is beginning to sense something about herself, but she doesn't know what it is, so this confuses her. The narrator says she's beginning to see where she belongs in the world, but warns this can be dangerous. The sea is described here as "seductive and sensuous, with a voice that speaks to the soul". The sea is calling to her, and its voice is getting stronger. This is the beginning of Edna's awakening, to see her place in the world and to want more.

Chapter 39 again refers to the sea as "seductive", but now it has total control over Edna. When she gets there, she sees a broken-winged bird that symbolizes how Edna has been broken by society. She can't fight the call of the sea because it is offering her rebirth and sensual pleasure, symbolizing the possibility of romance in her life. At the end, she is defeated, but she also feels power and freedom in choosing suicide because no one owns her anymore. Chapter 6 was the beginning of her "awakening" while the last chapter is the end of it.

Read the study guide:
The Awakening

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question