Edna Pontellier's Suicide In The Awakening

Edna Pontellier’s suicide in The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a topic of the book that has been debated for a century. Some readers believe that Edna’s suicide was an act of suicide, or an act of strength. This book tells the story of a woman who is has conflicting feelings involving the role of women in her society. Edna, the main character, has several young men who she loves in addition to her husband. Edna feels trapped by her role as a woman in society. Edna eventually can’t take the pressure and commits suicide. Edna Pontellier’s suicide is brought about by Edna’s depression, and some critics believe that her suicide is an act of surrender, while others believe it is an act of strength.
People with depressive or other mood disorders make up one half to two thirds of all committed suicides (Isometsa 120). People who have completed suicide are usually in the cluster B personality. Cluster B personality is characterized by a disregard for law and rights of people, instability in relationships, inappropriately seductive behavior and a need for admiration. Edna violates the rights of people, by having so many different men in her life, who she wants to be romantically involved with. Edna displays her seductive behavior whenever she is with Alcee Arobin or Robert Lebrun. Edna remarks “It was the first kiss of her life to which her nature had really responded. It was a flaming torch that kindled desire” (Chopin 110).This illusion Edna has comes after she kissed Alcee, who is not her husband.
People who commit suicide also have other risk factors. These factors include hopelessness, adverse events, impulsive-aggressive traits, and high severity of depressive syndrome (Isometsa 124). Just before Edna committed suicide she was think...

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... a defeat that involves no surrender” (Treu 22). Edna’s suicide can also be seen as giving herself to the voice of the sea, rather than the magian powers of Doctor Mandelet and her father (Treu 27).
Kate Chopin left the end up to let ones imagination run free with all the different possibilities to Edna’s suicide and why she would commit suicide. In The Awakening Edna had key factors in the risk of committing suicide. She was hopeless, impulsive, and aggressive, had severe losses, and was in the cluster B personality group. Some readers believe that Edna’s suicide was an act of surrender to those who oppressed her, like she had given up. Other critics believe that Edna committed and act of strength; tearing down the conventions that had been in place for so long. Edna’s suicide is, and will always be one of the most debated topics in nineteenth century literature.
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