The Awakening

An Analysis of Food in The Awakening

Edna Pontellier's domestic situation is nothing out of the ordinary for a wealthy New Orleans family. Her roles as a housewife and a mother exemplify society's expectations of upper-class women during the Victorian era. Edna's burning desire to break away from her unhappy marriage and stereotypical, oppressed female role guide her towards becoming an independent, self-possessed woman. Driven by passion, lust, and her new sense of identity, Edna becomes involved in a scandalous affair that forms the basis of her decision to break the conventions of her time period. The utilization of symbols leads the reader to investigate the deeper meaning of Edna's journey. One of the most prevalent symbols used by Chopin is food, which symbolizes Edna's realization of the expectations society holds for her and her transformation from an obedient mother and housewife into a self-sufficient woman.

In The Awakening, Chopin uses food as a foundation for acts that Edna feels obligated to appreciate. Mr. Pontellier sends his wife a basket of goods including syrups, bottles of wine, bon-bons, pates, and fresh fruit while he is away on a business trip in New Orleans and she is in Grand Isle. When Edna shares the treats she has...

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