Essay Example on Narrative technique in the novel The Awakening by Kate Chopin








In this essay my purpose is to touch upon the narrative structure and narrative technique in the novel The Awakening by Kate Chopin The novel begins with the major character Edna Pontellier spending the summer vacation at Grand Isle a resort in New Orleans with her two sons and her husband Léonce Because her husband is so busy working she spends most of the time with her friend Adèle Ratignolle who was a creole role mother Here she meets Robert Lebrun a young man who went to Grand Isle to spend the summer with his mother and he was that type of man that courted only married women and because of the friendship with Adèle the awakening process starts At the resort she learns how to swim she develops the artistic sense of painting and she spends time with Robert so they fall in love with each other Back to New Orleans she isolates herself so her husband gets in touch with doctor Mandelet who tells him to give her some space She decides to move out and she starts an affair with Alcée Arobin while her husband is away with business but in the end it doesn't work out She talks with Mademoiselle Reisz who keeps in touch with Robert he was in Mexico and Edna asks her if she has letters for her from Robert and finally Mademoiselle Reisz shows some letters addressed to her When he returns they claim the love between them

Apart from this Edna s friend Adèle is having a baby so she goes to Grand Isle to help her and by the time Edna returns Robert will have gone leaving a goodbye note In the end of the novel Edna needs a rest so she goes again to Grand Isle where she venture into the sea but the drowns herself In this holiday Edna discovers so many feelings inside her that she never knew before and eventually they incite the awakening The conversation between her and Adèle wakes inside her some flashbacks She was a grown young woman when she was overtaken by what she supposed to be the climax of her fate It was when the face and figure of a great tragedian began to haunt her imagination and stir her senses Edna did not reveal so much as all this to Madame Ratignolle that summer day when they sat with faces turned to the sea But a good part of it escaped her She had put her head down on Madame Ratignolle's shoulder She was flushed and felt intoxicated with the sound of her own voice and the unaccustomed taste of candor It muddled her like wine or like a first breath of freedom Chopin Kate ch VII p 45 48 Another feeling that she discovers is her connection between her and Robert Lebrun throughout the novel a forgotten feeling of love and passion Moreover hearing Mademoiselle Reisz playing the piano awake inside her the other feelings The very first chords which Mademoiselle Reisz struck upon the piano sent a keen tremor down Mrs Pontellier s spinal column She saw no pictures of solitude of hope of longing or of despair But the very passions themselves were aroused within her soul swaying it lashing it as the waves daily beat upon her splendid body She trembled she was trembled she was choking and the tears blinded her Chopin ch IX p 66 What is more swimming for the first time makes Edna feeling a sense of freedom solitude and thinking that she can do anything and she controls her body very well 

A feeling of exultation overtook her as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and soul She grew daring and reckless overestimating her strength She wanted to swim far out where no woman had swum before She turned her face seaward to gather in an impression of space and solitude which the vast expanse of water meeting and melting with the moonlit sky conveyed to her excited fancy As she swam she seemed to be reaching out fot the unlimited in which to lose herself Chopin ch X p 70 71 According to Florian Coulmas In a sense the conflicting nomenclatures reflect a disparity of grammatical form and fictional content characteristic of this style as compared with non narrative speech The omniscient author can freely invade other minds and relate events utterances and thoughts as if he were a witness to a scene to which no witness can have access Grammatically much of what Jespersen called represented speech is phrased from the point of view of the narrator but content wise belongs to the hero's speech thought or perception Coulmas p 7 In other words free indirect speech marks the voice blending the author explaining that although the narrator speaks the voice is the one of the character For example It would have been a difficult matter for Mr Pontellier to define to his own satisfaction or any one else s wherein his wife failed in her duty toward their children It was something which he felt rather than perceived and he never voiced the feeling without subsequent regret and ample atonement Chopin ch IV p 18 The narrator remains unbiased while his thoughts are revealed by the narrator but in the protagonist's mind

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