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Rhetorical Devices in The Awakening

Rhetorical Devices Examples in The Awakening:

Chapter VI

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"This may seem like a ponderous weight of wisdom to descend upon the soul of a young woman of twenty-eight—perhaps more wisdom than the Holy Ghost is usually pleased to vouchsafe to any woman...."   (Chapter VI)

Here, the narrator assumes that the audience views Edna’s awakening from the standpoint of her patriarchal society: individuality and humanity is a “ponderous weight” for a mere woman. However, the careful reader will notice that Chopin uses this unreliable narrator to point out the ridiculousness of this point of view. The narrator’s comments are ironic and function to prompt the reader to read past what is being said to see the reality of Edna’s situation.

"Arobin..."   (Chapter XXVIII)

It is interesting that the narrator refers to Edna’s lover only by his last name. Unlike her husband, who is referred to by his proper title “Mr.”, and her true love Robert, who is referred to by his first name, Arobin is only identified by his family’s name. This could be a way in which the narrator depersonalizes Arobin. His function in the book is to be a platform on which Enda can explore her individuality rather than to be a complex character in his own right.

"But by the time she had regained the city the song no longer echoed in her soul. She was again alone...."   (Chapter XXXII)

At first glance Edna’s acknowledgement of her solitude could seem negative. However, the reader should remember that Edna views being alone as an elated form of freedom. This chapter ends with the song of her children fading and Edna in solitude not to demonstrate her loneliness but to show that her children do not define her. Even though she is moved by her children’s company, Edna maintains her independence.

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