Mademoiselle Reisz In The Awakening

Words: 2103
Pages: 9

Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening began and ended its story on Grand Isle, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. The central character is Edna Pontellier who annually vacationed at the cottages on Grand Isle with her husband, Léonce and their two young boys, Raoul and Etienne. The sea surrounded the Creole resort on the Louisiana island. Throughout the story, the sea is used to symbolize what Edna experienced on her path of self-discovery.
Mademoiselle Reisz had delivered an affecting performance on a piano during an evening of celebration. The performance had aroused Edna. “I wonder if I shall ever be stirred again as Mademoiselle Reisz’s playing moved me to-night” (Chopin, 16). Mademoiselles Reisz was an unmarried, older woman, and a talented musician. Edna admired her independence. At
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Each person believed they were solely responsible for Edna’s newfound confidence, since each had attempted to teach her how to swim. This is indicative of all the advice she received from various characters throughout the story. However, Edna never submitted to any of the advice she received. Although, she was encouraged in her independence, by the example of Mademoiselle Reisz. Edna was overwhelmed with how easy it was to swim into the sea. She could not believe how fearful she had been and how she had missed out on such a liberating experience. “‘How easy it is!’ she thought. ‘It is nothing,’ she said aloud; ‘why did I not discover before that it was nothing. Think of the time I have lost splashing around like a baby!’” (Chopin, 16) In this instance, Kate Chopin was using Edna’s experience in the sea, as a symbol for Edna’s awakening. Edna had been naïve about her life. She had not acknowledged her dissatisfaction with her husband and children, until now. She was not content. She wanted more and she felt that she had been missing out. She felt she had lost herself, or perhaps, she had never known her real