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House Symbolism Essay

In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the use of houses symbolizes the level of freedom Edna feels. From the house in the Grand Isle to the house in New Orleans, and finally the Pigeon house, Edna’ Moods and feelings are expressed to the readers. Edna Pontellier is a woman who lives through many houses in the awakening. Each house represents certain levels and expectations that Edna must face. The first house that Edna lives through is the house in New Orleans. While in the house in New Orleans Edna’s level of freedom is very minimal, due to the fact that she is expected to be somebody that she doesn’t want to be.

The people who Edna encounters at the house requires that Edna must be a supreme hostess, Edna on the other hand just want to do whatever she pleases without the feeling of being viewed in a wrong way. Edna’s husband Mr. Pontellier is really the main reason why Edna has no type of freedom in the house. He is very controlling believing that a woman should only do what her husband tells her to do. She doesn’t feel happy with her husband treating her like she is property.

Edna decides that the House in New Orleans is not where she is going to be independent. Another house that Edna lives in is the house in the Grand Isle. While living in the Grand Isle Edna’s level of freedom is a little higher then what is was at the house in New Orleans, however she still has to face the controlling nature of her husband. Another factor that is stopping Edna to have the freedom and independence is the fact that Leonce is expecting Edna to be a “mother-woman” which is a woman who worships her husband and cherishes her children, something Edna has no desire to be. The house at the Grand Isle symbolizes the growth in freedom but doesn’t completely satisfy her needs.

Finally the last house that Edna lives in is the pigeon house. While in the pigeon house Edna level of freedom is finally accomplished which allows her to be independent and control how she runs her life. Edna does not have to worry about all the material and life objects that Mr. Pontellier has thrown in her life. Although Edna has all the freedom that she wants, Edna finds herself enclosed and isolated by herself with Robert in Mexico. After a while living at the pigeon house Edna started to feel like a prisoner, which ultimately leads to her unification with the sea. All of these house gives Edna different situations which allows her to grow and realize what she truly believes is the right way for her to live her life.


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