The Awakening

The Incommunicable in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish. (Chopin, 28)

The Awakening portrays a woman caught in the feminine role defined by her society. The real nature of Edna's problem is conveyed through different images and literary techniques rather than being directly mentioned. Although Edna’s inability to communicate her problem is rendered on both the story and discourse levels, on the story level this issue is limited to Edna’s inability to make sense of her suffering and communicate it to other characters. On the discourse level, however, Edna’s situation is conveyed through imagery and high symbolism rather than directly discussed. Edna is caught between the conventional and the unconventional, between what society expects her to be and what she shouldn't be: "at the very early period she had apprehended instinctively the dual life—that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions" (35). This characteristic of Edna is highlighted through some recurrent images or is symbolically conveyed in some of her relationships with the other characters of the novel.

The image of the unmarried "young...

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