The Awakening By Kate Chopin

Decent Essays
Joshua Antonic
Mrs. Schroder
AP Literature and Composition
2 January 2016
The Awakening Essay
In The Awakening, Kate Chopin ends the novel in a vastly different way than most authors would have at that time with her main character, Edna Pontellier, committing suicide by drowning herself. If one were to isolate this ending without any context whatsoever, it would feel tragic and depressing; however, the events leading up to her death actually explains to the readers her spiritual reassessment and moral reconciliation, both of which being themes significant to the book as a whole. Throughout most of her life, Edna Pontellier’s true self was majorly suppressed by her husband, as well as her duties as a mother, and society’s image of
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She leaves the care of her children to her grandmother, abandoning them and her husband when she leaves to live in the pigeon-house. To her, leaving her old home with Léonce is very important to her freedom. Almost everything in their house belonged to him, so even if he were to leave, she would still feel surrounded by his possessions. She never fully becomes free of him until she physically leaves the house. That way, Edna has no ties whatsoever to that man. Furthermore, Edna indulges in more humanistic things such as art and music. She listens to Mademoiselle Reisz’s playing of the piano and feels the music resonate throughout her body and soul, and uses it as a form of escapism from the world. Based on these instances, Edna acts almost like a very young child, completely disregarding consequences and thinking only about what they want to do experience most at that moment. However, to the reader this does not necessarily appear “bad”, but rather it is seen from the perspective of a person who has been controlled by others their entire life and wishes to break free from their grasp. In a way, she is enacting a childlike and subconscious form of revenge by disobeying all known social constructs of how a woman should talk, walk, act, and interact with others. Edna reassesses her spirit more and more as the novel proceeds, with her finally reaching the maxim when committing suicide. At the beginning of the novel she is completely
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