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Nature and the Human Soul The Shackles of Freedom Langston Hughes and Kate Chopin use nature in several dimensions to demonstrate the powerful struggles and burdens of human life Throughout Kate Chopins The Awakening and several of Langston Hughes poems the sweeping imagery of the beauty and power of nature demonstrates the struggles the characters confront and their eventual freedom from those struggles Nature and freedom coexist and the characters eventually learn to find freedom from the confines of society oneself and finally freedom within ones soul The use of nature for this purpose brings the characters and speakers in Chopins and Hughes works to life and the reader feels the life and freedom of those characters Nature in the works of Chopin and Hughes serves as a powerful symbol that represents the struggle of the human soul towards freedom the anguish of that struggle and the joy when that freedom is finally reached In The Awakening the protagonist Edna Pontellier undergoes a metamorphosis She lives in Creole society a society that restricts sexuality especially for women of the time Edna is bound by the confines of a loveless marriage unfulfilled unhappy and closed in like a caged bird During her summer at Grand Isle she is confronted with herself in her truest nature and finds herself swept away by passion and love for someone she cannot have Robert Lebrun The imagery of the ocean at Grand Isle and its attributes symbolize a force calling her to confront her internal struggles and find freedom Chopin uses the imagery of the ocean to represent the innate force within her soul that is calling to her The voice of the sea is seductive never ceasing whispering clamoring murmuring inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude to lose itself in a maze of inward contemplation p14 Through nature and its power Edna begins to find freedom in her soul and then returns to
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