Birds trapped in a cage symbolizes Edna. It portrays that she is limited by society and is not truly free.
"All along the white beach, up and down, there was no living thing in sight. A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water."
The sea is a symbol of freedom and what Edna believes is the solution to her issue.
"The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace."
Swimming is a symbol for empowerment.
"But that night she was like the little tottering, stumbling, clutching child, who of a sudden realizes its powers, and walks for the first time alone, boldly and with over-confidence. She could have shouted for joy. She did shout for joy, as with a sweeping stroke or two she lifted her body to the surface of the water. 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 her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before."
The different houses that Edna stays in throughout the book are symbols of her cage.
A bird in flight represents Edna leaving her home to find freedom.
“Well, for instance, when I left her to-day, 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. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth.’ Whither would you soar?”
Art is another symbol for freedom. However Edna fails at this due to her "wings being too weak".
Cigars represent masculinity throughout the book and it was forbidden for women to smoke one.
The mockingbird represents Mademoiselle Reisz.
"He could speak a little Spanish, and also a language which nobody understood, unless it was the mocking-bird that hung on the other side of the door, whistling his fluty notes out upon the breeze with maddening persistence."
The parrot represents Edna Pontellier.
Layers of clothing are a symbol of societal rules.