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Word Count: 616
The Awakening contains many symbolic features such as the way Edna uses art the birdsthe parrot and the mockingbird sleep music and the houses Edna Pontellier lives in butperhaps two of the most significant symbols are the clothes in the novel not only of Ednabut also the other characters and the water whether it be the ocean the gulf or the sea These two symbols are possibly the most significant because of their direct relationship toEdna Pontellier Both the water and her clothes have the power to not only emphasize buthelp show exactly how and what Edna is feelingClothes appear to have significant meaning in The Awakening enough so that theyare mentioned at almost every description of the characters Edna Pontellier starts the novelfully dressed and appropriately dressed for a woman of her responsibilities however at herfinal moment she is naked on the beach Other women in the story also represent theirposition and the way they feel in the way they dress For example Madmoiselle Reisznever changes her clothes This could possibly symbolize her physical detachment fromanything around her including nature and any suppressed feelings In contrast Ednasclothes represent her physical attachment to society She sheds her clothes the way a snakesheds its skin when it is time for a new one and it does not fit into the old one any longer Edna doesnt feel like she can fit into society any longer Madmoiselle Reisz on the otherhand does not seem to have any desire to be more than what she has been given in thesociety in which she lives Therefore she does not change her clothes because she does notfeel the need for change in her life Other characters such as Madame Leburn always have new clothes to cover theirbodies This could perhaps represent the constant need to cover their sexuality as women insuppressed roles as wives and mothers Ednas nakedness at the end of the novel symbolizesher freedom from any claims her
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