Analysis Pages

Imagery in The Awakening

Imagery Examples in The Awakening:

Chapter V

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"Their voices were high and penetrating...."   (Chapter V)

Notice the imagery of the sea and how it contrasts with the “high and penetrating” voices of Edna’s children. The sea is “seductive” and surrounded by the “soft and languorous” breeze, which creates an atmosphere of freedom and possibility. The children’s shrill voices call Edna back from this romantic appreciation of the sea, symbolizing the confines of motherhood and marriage that Edna feels. As you read, continue to pay attention to the imagery of the sea, as it will symbolize freedom for Edna throughout the novel.

" Edna heard her father's voice and her sister Margaret's. She heard the barking of an old dog that was chained to the sycamore tree. The spurs of the cavalry officer clanged as he walked across the porch. ..."   (Chapter XXXIX)

The final images that Edna imagines are images of oppression, restraint, and control. She hears the patriarchal and matronly voices of her father and sister; a dog chained to a tree; spurs that are used to control the actions of a horse. As Edna dies, her life flashes before her eyes. But it is not images of things that happened to her but rather images that convey the confined, restrained nature of her existence.

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