Love and Death in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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Love and Death in The Awakening "It was when the face and figure of a great tragedian began to haunt her imagination and stir her senses. The persistence of the infatuation lent it an aspect of genuineness. The hopelessness of it colored it with the lofty tones of a great passion:" (Chopin 17) a passion that eventually lost its newness and was relegated to the shelf that held vague, yet comfortably delightful remembrances. The tragedian keeps company with a visiting cavalry officer and an engaged gentleman. Though, in reality, the gentleman is probably no longer engaged, he will remain so in the mind of Edna Pontellier: one of the images of the infatuations of a "little miss." (Chopin 17) With regard to her marriage to Leonce Pontellier, Edna is taken, not with the man himself, but with the notion he represents. “By leaving Mississippi on Leonce's arm, she defies her family's wish that she marry a non-Catholic. Add to that equation a healthy dose of flattery from her intended and their union is as good as cemented” (Martin 118). This is how Edna comes to be ensconced in the inescapable institution of marriage. One would suppose that the speaking of the vows would put an end to youthful enchantment, but that is not the case. Both the holy bounds of wedlock and the remonstrations of society fail to constrict her. Edna Pontellier experiences one last, great infatuation. However, this beat upon her soul reverberates into a feeling that far surpasses what she had previously thought to be "the climax of her fate." (Chopin 17) The single-tiered fantasies of her youth are replaced with a sentiment that matures in nature as her awakening proceeds. Upon the occasion of a summer escape to the Lebrun family pension o... ... middle of paper ... ... more. This is why a suicide is the only feasible manner in which to end this novel. “If Edna were to be no more, then the wave would strike no more. It would simply crest and blend with the rush of foam to wash over the sandy shore and be tugged back into the immense abysses of solitude" (Culley 47). Works Cited and Consulted Chopin, Kate, The Awakening; A Solitary Soul. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1992 Culley, Margaret, ed. The Awakening: An Authoritative Text Context Criticism. New York: Norton, 1976. Delbanco, Andrew. "The Half-Life of Edna Pontellier." New Essays on The Awakening. Ed. Wendy Martin. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988. 89-106. Koloski, Bernard, ed. Preface. Approaches to Teaching Chopin's The Awakening. By Koloski. New York: MLA, 1988. Martin, Wendy, ed. New Essays on the Awakening. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988.
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