The Awakening

The Long Road to Freedom College

Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn share a number of parallels in terms of character and setting, namely between Edna Pontellier and Huck and Jim, and the significance of the sea and river to the aforementioned characters. Thematically, the two novels also carry the same concept of a great journey. In The Awakening, Edna’s journey, much like Huck’s, is one filled with excitement and is mostly unplanned. While Edna abandons her wifely duties—such as attending her husband Léonce’s weekly Tuesday receptions—to pursue a life that invigorates her, perhaps through her affair with Alcée, Huck makes a similar decision by forgoing his “sivilized” (2) life with Widow Douglas and Miss Watson. He not only fakes his own death, but also runs away from the civilization he was brought up in, in a physical act of rebellion against society. Edna’s acts of rebellion are comparably more subtle and limited, as her marriage binds her to more societal conventions than Huck’s situation does.

Regardless of this, both of these characters share a common sense of connection to different bodies of water; whereas Huck feels most at ease drifting along the Mississippi River, it is the open sea that allows Edna to...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 2159 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10973 literature essays, 2745 sample college application essays, 852 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in