Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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Laura Amy Schlitz

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Theme 1: The Awakening

The Awakening

Kate Chopin, 1899
Famous for: A free-thinking leading lady who refused to be caged by society's expectations. A beginning and an ending at the ocean.

Themes in The Awakening by Kate Chopin| 60second Recap®The right to express yourself. Openly. Without fear or shame. Edna Pontellier had never seen anything quite like it. Her summer amidst the Creole women of Grande Island exposed her to a different kind of culture, one in which women could speak openly about their feelings and even their sexual urges.

At first, Edna’s appalled. Then she decides these Creole women are onto something: The ability to express oneself is not shameful or crass, but empowering, noble…

…and a theme in The Awakening.


Rapture Practice cover | It's about self-expression | 60second Book Review

Check out our 60second Book Review of
Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler.

One of the consequences of Edna Pontellier’s awakening is that she realizes she can express herself … but that if she does, other people won’t get her.

Sound familiar? In some ways, Edna’s story could be the story of any teenager today.

Now in Edna’s case, the issue was a society that didn’t view women as equal to men. It wasn’t right and proper for a woman to live the life of an artist. It wasn’t right and proper for a woman’s focus to be somewhere outside the home, or other than on her children.

That’s why Edna’s husband is so upset by her “inexplicable” behavior. And that’s why Chopin’s theme is the difficulties of self-expression.

Though Edna tries throughout the story to make herself and her choices understood, no one gets it.

In fact, even though Edna learns to speak three new languages over the course of the novel—the language of emotion, the language of art, and the language of love and passion—not a single one of these enables her to really express herself the way she wants to.

In the end, the society in which she lives is just too constrictive—both for Edna’s own free self-expression, and for those whose understanding Edna craves.


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