This is another main theme of the book, and most instances have been
highlighted in the interpretations.
The symbol of birds is used to describe characters in the book. You
will remember the parrot and the mockingbird.
Birds are also used to illustrate woman’s position in society.
They are caged, and their wings are used to protect their children. However Edna intends to use her wings to escape from her husband.
Reisz recognizes Edna’s struggle and advises her that she will need
strong wings to survive the obstacles she will face.
At the end, the bird with the broken wing does not merely symbolize Edna’s
bid for freedom, but it is a general indictment on the status of all womankind at this time.