Suicide is often thought of as a very sad and quick answer to problems, such as depression but in Kate Chopin's novel, she ironically portrays suicide as a passage to freedom. The Awakening (1899) is a short novel that depicts the life of a young housewife struggling for her independence, sexuality, and her self worth in an unromantic marriage. The author, through three major actions, shows the successful and triumphant "awakening" of Edna Pontellier. Edna's change in character unravels as she takes up painting, moves into her own house, and eventually commits suicide.
As the story unfolds, we learn that, although Edna Pontellier lives in relative luxury in the French Quarter of New Orleans with a successful businessman for a husband and two young boys, she is unhappy about the direction her life is headed. Edna's "awakening" begins when she realizes that she is living her life for others and not herself. The story takes place in the late nineteenth century, a time when women were expected to stay at home and take care of the children, with little independence. Edna decides to pursue her passion of painting making it even harder for her husband Léonce to understand her. She is stepping out of the traditional routine of women, leaving her husband to believe that she may be coming down with a sickness. However, Edna's thoughts are simply filled with her fantasies of Robert. Every summer the Pontellier's vacation at an upscale resort on Grand Isle. This is where Edna first encounters Robert Lebrun spending most of her days with him; she is taken by his love. The narrator says, "She could only realize that she herself... was in some way different from the other self. That she was ...
... middle of paper ...
... swim to her death, "...There beside the sea, absolutely alone, and for the first time in her life she stood naked in the open air...and the waves invited her"(115). For Edna this was the freedom that she had been working for and had finally achieved.
The tragedy of Edna Pontellier's death was not a cowardly retraction of her goal to become an independent woman, but rather a daring act of her courageous soul and the only way for her to free herself form the trials of her world. The Awakening shows the independence of a woman in need of change and the courage that it takes to pursue individual goals. It portrays a strong message to me about how important it is to fulfill your personal goals and be your own individual. Edna showed us this through her triumphant "Awakening."
Kate Chopin, The Awakening, New York: Dover Publications, Inc.1993
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Suicide has been defined as "the act of self-destruction by a person sound in mind and capable of measuring his (or her) moral responsibility" . Determining one's moral responsibility is what all of humanity struggles with and strives to achieve. Many forces act toward the suppression of this self-discovery, causing a breakdown and ultimately complete collapse of conventional conceptions of the self. In “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, Edna is a character who ends up committing suicide. So then the question that is being asked is whether or not Edna's suicide is an act of tragic affirmation or pathetic defeat.... [tags: Suicide, Suicide methods, Grand Isle, Louisiana]
1474 words (4.2 pages)
- Suicide in Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening Suicide is often thought of as a very sad and quick answer to problems, such as depression but in Kate Chopin's novel, she ironically portrays suicide as a passage to freedom. The Awakening (1899) is a short novel that depicts the life of a young housewife struggling for her independence, sexuality, and her self worth in an unromantic marriage. The author, through three major actions, shows the successful and triumphant "awakening" of Edna Pontellier.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
762 words (2.2 pages)
- Edna Pontellier's Suicide Suicide has been defined as "the act of self-destruction by a person sound in mind and capable of measuring his (or her) moral responsibility" (Webster 1705). Determining one's moral responsibility is what all of humanity struggles with and strives to achieve. Many forces act toward the suppression of this self-discovery, causing a breakdown and ultimately a complete collapse of conventional conceptions of the self. So then the question presented becomes whether or not Edna's suicide is an act of tragic affirmation or pathetic defeat.... [tags: Awakening Kate Chopin]
1574 words (4.5 pages)
- How do I view Edna’s actions at the end of The Awakening. Leading up to the ending of The Awakening, Edna found out many new things about herself, and has learned what it is like to be a free woman in her society. She learns that she does not want to be one of the typical women of society at the time and goes against the norms. Edna discovers that spending time with Robert and Mademoiselle Reisz makes her very happy. From spending time with Mademoiselle Reisz, Edna learns that she has a creative side to herself and she expresses this side through art.... [tags: Marriage, Freedom]
601 words (1.7 pages)
Suicide as the Best Option in Kate Chopin's AwakeningSuicide as the Best Option in Kate Chopin's Awakening
- Suicide as the Best Option in Kate Chopin's Awakening The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, was considered controversial at the time it was first published in 1892 because of its intense sexual context. In fact, the critics of that era wrote in newspapers and magazines about the novel "it’s not a healthy book," "sex fiction," "we are well satisfied when Ms. Pontellier deliberately swims to her death," "an essential vulgar story," and "unhealthy introspective and morbid" (Wyatt). Edna, the main character, engages in sexual relationships outside of marriage.... [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening Essays]
1230 words (3.5 pages)
- In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the proper Creole woman Edna Pontellier moves increasingly away from the social norms of obedience and submission for women, as a mother or a wife; she seeks her freedom by asserting her independence- rather than being a popular and devoted caged bird to her husband and sons, she begins several love affairs and embarks on an artistic, hedonistic lifestyle. However, at the end of the novel, she is unable to convince her love Robert Lebrun to follow her path towards apparent immorality any longer, feels that she has abandoned her children, and goes instead to the sea where the novel begins.... [tags: Suicide, Life, The Awakening, Suffering]
1185 words (3.4 pages)
- Society, although undoubtedly necessary, perpetuates an unduly restrictive set of expectations that few can live up to. In her novel The Awakening, Kate Chopin explores the psychological rebirth of protagonist Edna Pontellier, who comes to realize her dissatisfaction with her domestic role in nineteenth-century society. She cares for her husband Leonce and their two children, but seeks greater independence, risking Leonce’s disapproval by moving out of the house to pursue painting. In contrast, Edna’s friend Adele Ratignolle thrives as a housewife and mother, finding enjoyment in piano playing to benefit her household.... [tags: Sociology, Suicide, The Awakening, Suicide methods]
1220 words (3.5 pages)
- Something rarely mentioned when discussing The Awakening by Kate Chopin is the possibility of the main character, Edna Pontellier, having a mental illness. Her unconventional awakening and suicide is often attributed to Edna, not being able to withstand the pressures and standards of society. However, there is a deeper reason for her motives. Edna Pontellier struggled with depression and other mental illnesses throughout her life, which ultimately resulted in her awakening and suicide. Edna Pontellier was plagued with troubles throughout her life.... [tags: Suicide, Bipolar disorder]
1975 words (5.6 pages)
- The Awakening What is there to attempt when the consciousness of an insuperable conundrum is surfaced to realization. This topic is considered in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening in which a young woman, Edna, recognizes the social constraint that men generally had on women as a married mother herself. Despite her identification, continued attempts for liberation only ended in inexorable defeat. In contrast, the perception of an ongoing dilemma can sometimes conclude in the ultimate goal: positive change.... [tags: Suicide, Suicide methods, Depression]
1127 words (3.2 pages)
- Yingci Chen Kelli Mackay IB English 4 22 April 2015 The Awakening The novel The Awakening is written by Kate Chopin in 1899 which shocked the readers with its honest treatment of female infidelity. Edna Pontellier is a married woman that is trapped in a stifling marriage. She then seeks to find the love and freedom that she desires with Robert Lebrun and Alcee Arobin. She broke her role of an ideal “mother woman” in her society and discover her true identity as being independent and passionate about what she desires.... [tags: Suicide, Suicide methods, Self-realization]
864 words (2.5 pages)
- Negative Effects of Technology Depicted in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World
- Struggle for Dominance and Mastery in Jack London's The Call of the Wild
- Character Development in John Steinbeck's Cannery Row
- Alice Walker's The Color Purple: Celie's Struggles Expressed in Letters
- The Murderer's Motives in Dostoevsky's Crime & Punishment
- Women's Control in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest