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The road to suicide in kate chopins the awakening

By committing suicide Edna does exactly what she already has predicted earlier: I would give up my life. They show that her physical life is something unessential to her.

Chopin, Kate - The Awakening - Edna`s suicide

She actually has to choose what to give up in the situation she finds herself in by the end of the novel: She lives in a society that dictates her how and what to be, namely a so called mother- woman, described as following: The mother - women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle. It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended, protecting wings when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood.

They were women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels.

To him, she is more like a piece of property which has to be kept undamaged and beautiful to fulfil its task of being a status symbol to him. And he does look after his property: In contrast to men, women play a submissive role, their personal independence is linked with discomfort and exclusion.

The affair she has with Alcee Arobin gives her the sexual satisfaction she has never achieved before. But this is not all she wants from a man. She does not love Alcee, but feels guilty towards the man she really does love and whom she feels like betraying: With him she dreams of sailing away to live an unconventional, independent life. But although Robert shows a certain interest in Edna as a person and seems to understand her he reacts by leaving, almost escaping to Mexico after Adele Ratignolle says: She is not one of us; she is not like us.

She might make the unfortunate blunder of taking you seriously. If your attention to any married women here were ever offered with any intention of being convincing, you would not be the gentleman we all know you to be, and you would be unfit to associate with the wives and daughters of the people who trust in you.

Therefore he might be considered a victim of the Creole society himself. Be that as it may, when he returns from Mexico, he turns out to be nothing like Edna has imagined him but just as conventional as anybody else.

He reacts shocked on her suggestion to live together but not as man and wife and he does not understand: In this situation Edna has to discover that she has only a limited number of options to go on with her life: This, however, would mean to give up all the independence she has achieved and continue her life as it was before her awakening: Alcee is totally out of question: Another discussible option would be to come together with Robert.

This would mean a divorce, which was both not a popular and easy thing to do in those days and it would result in a decline of social position for both of them. Marie Fletcher describes the problem as follows: Sexually awakened as she is, she cannot bear to live on as the wife of Leonce Pontellier; Robert Lebrun does not really want her; and with Alcee Arobin there is no feeling of companionship, only sexual satisfaction about which she has a sense of guilt because of her feeling that she has betrayed Robert.

  1. With him she dreams of sailing away to live an unconventional, independent life.
  2. She looked into the distance, and the old terror flamed up for an instant, then sank again. In this society a woman has little hope, other than to pray that the man she marries is kind to her.
  3. She would depend on a man again. Northwestern State University Press, 1979.

She has devoted her life to being an artist. She is independent and unmarried. These are the prospects Edna faces. So why does she not choose any of these but rather kills herself? She would depend on a man again.

  • By trying to resolve it, we miss the point of the novel;
  • But this is not all she wants from a man;
  • Alcee is totally out of question;
  • The sea also functions as an escape for Edna;
  • A walk through the quiet streets at midnight is another.

At this point in her life she has simply gone too far in her awakening to take any steps backwards. Expressed is this refusal in context to her resistance to Leonce: And she has pointed out that that is not an option at all to her.

Furthermore, Edna is not strong enough to live a life like Mlle. Mlle Reisz lives at the margin of society, is not really popular but only tolerated, lives alone in a small flat without any comforts. They have been playing a major role in her thoughts since her childhood: Over and above that, she did appreciate the modest wealth and comfort the marriage with Leonce provided her with.

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She could not bear to live a life without means. And, moreover, to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul13 and she doubts that Edna is such a courageous soul.

Isolation and sexual abstinence is the only viable alternative, but Edna cannot endure a solitary life. She is not strong enough to live under the austere tutelage of Mlle Reisz. Shortly before her suicide Edna witnesses Adele Ratignolle giving birth.

She is reminded of her own birth - experience when she sees how the other woman suffers. But she knew a way to elude them. The story of the novel takes place within 9 months. She frees herself from her old self: In general, water is a symbol for spiritual rebirth, cleaning ones body and soul, renewing and awakening. The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude.

  1. She has finally decided what she wants and is willing to act upon those impulses.
  2. Oh think of the children!
  3. Chopin intentionally leaves the reader with this ambiguity. These are the prospects Edna faces.
  4. In the beginning of the novel she is impulsive and childlike.

The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace. Within these two appearances the meaning of the sea gains importance for Edna.

Not only does she - at the age of 28 - finally learn to swim but also comes the idea to her mind that there might be something different in life than what she has experienced so far. The sea gives her the opportunity to actually feel free for the first time in her life.

The sea also functions as an escape for Edna: In the end, however, this image of liberation is brought to its climax: The sea is now her instrument to achieve this ultimate realization of her liberation-process: This final act enables her to preserve the essential part of herself: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Begriffe und Definitionen, 2nd ed. Works read but not quoted: University Press of Mississippi, 1999. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997.

Margo Culley, New York: Begriffe und Definitionen, G. Metzler, 1990 21 Kate Chopin, The Awakening, p. Cambridge University Press, 1988p. Walker, The Disobidient Writer: Women and Narrative Tradition Austin: University of Texas press, 1995p.