Edna was encouraged to defy society’s expectations and roles by Mademoiselle Reisz and to act as a bird

Edna was encouraged to defy society’s expectations and roles by Mademoiselle Reisz and to act as a bird, even checking her ‘wings’ in a hug: “she put her arms around me and felt my shoulder blades, to see if my wings were strong, she said. ‘The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings.” (page 88)

The advice that Edna gets from the pianist includes a reference to a bird that will have wings strong enough to fly above traditions and prejudices. In her fight for independence, Edna becomes a threat to the values of society.