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Assignment from Mrs. Green

Analyze the author's style.  Identify the author's choice of point of view.  Write a 
page or more, typed, which discusses how the reader's reactions to the story and 
characters are shaped by the point of view.  Include other elements of the author style
which you discover.  Author style usually includes sentence structure, syntax, tone.

Chopin’s Techniques: The Impossible vs. the Improbable

Chopin. An extremely complex woman, and an extraordinarily complex writer. She begins The Awakening with a situation that the reader will face time and time again, whether one realizes it or not. The opening lines belong to a green and yellow parrot, whom Chopin later suggests to the reader that it represents Edna, the main character. The bird is screaming at Mr. Pontellier, Edna’s husband who looks at her basically as nothing close to a mother. Chopin claims that it speaks French, Spanish, and a little bit of a language that no one understands, except for maybe the mockingbird on the other side of the porch. The mockingbird is chosen to represent Madame Ratignolle, Edna’s friend and a perfect “mother-woman”. Chopin defines a “mother-woman” as a kind of martyr; a woman who lives only for her husband and her children. In terms of point of view, Chopin changes her point of view in this book, choosing between effaced and restricted, using whatever will fit best in the situation. She begins it from Mr. Pontellier’s point of view. We see what he thinks of his wife and her shenanigans, and how he views her as only an object, not really a person. Edna still gets intrusion during this chapter, though only through the bird. Screeching “Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi!”, Chopin foreshadows on how Edna will slowly pull away from her husband, telling him to get out of her life, to stay away, let her be herself, and to be independent of marriage and responsibility. From the second chapter on, we are led by Edna. Though Chopin uses third person, we still realize and feel Edna’s struggles. We get into her mind, we know what she’s thinking. Her actions are almost as important as her thoughts, showing, rather than telling, through the dialogue. Chopin slyly entangles the aspects that she wants to get across to the reader within many of Edna’s thoughts and actions; she doesn’t try and muddle up the dialogue. Overall, this book was incredibly well-written and became increasingly understandable towards the end. Chopin’s use of fore-shadowing is monumental and increasing throughout The Awakening. The reader must catch the important events, though, for Chopin interweaves her messages to the reader through everyday events and occurrences.

Jennifer Robitaille

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