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Word Count: 667
Kate Chopin underscores the expression free as a bird in the novel The Awakening through the consistent use of aviary symbolism Throughout the story she cleverly weaves images and descriptions of birds to express the psychological state of mind of her main character Edna Pontellier Perhaps the most obvious example of this symbolism is in the first spoken sentences of the novel which strangely enough are not uttered by a human but rather screeched by a parrot Allez vous-en Allez vous-en Sapristi Thats all right 1 are the words hollered by this maddened caged bird When translated into English they are Go away Go away For heavens sake These expressions aptly represent the forbidden thoughts racing through the mind of Edna Pontellier the novels heroine She wants to go away for she is bored with her mundane life Tired of dealing with her insensitive husband and her ordinary children she longs for something more exciting Ironically Edna probably should have taken the parrots advice and escaped from her hellish world immediately Yet she did not and because of this she was forced to meet her tragic end Plus in addition to the words of warning the image of this hostile shrieking bird is a symbol in and of itself For like the parrot Edna is also trapped not within a metal cage but by the standards and traditions of society The next demonstration of the avian image comes in the form of a young man named Alcee Arobin a man whose surname syllabicated slowly is pronounced a - robin This bird the harbinger of spring is able to fly freely Arobin matches this description for he like his counterpart flies freely through society Admittedly with ingenuous frankness he spoke of what a wicked undisciplined boy he had been 76 and to Edna he talked in a way that astonished her at first and brought crimson to her face 78
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