At the time in history when Kate Chopin is writing The Awakening, America is experiencing many women s rights movements. For example, numerous women in this time period are speaking out about their right to vote, their positions in society and their overall purpose in life. In this novel, Edna is experiencing many of the same struggles as these women are. The main idea that sets Edna apart from these other women in society is that she takes her independence to an extreme: suicide. It is completely possible that Edna s suicide derives from depression [ , . . . ] and [she] sees herself [. . . ] as an isolated individual caressed by nature s forces and both isolated and freed by her self-realization (Ryan 3). In The Awakening, Kate Chopin foreshadows Edna s suicide through her internal conflicts, her struggle for independence, and her rebellion.
The journey Edna goes through causes her to rebel against Leonce and against society as well as search for purpose and fulfillment in Robert and Arobin.
There are numerous events that lead up to this rebellion. The first rebellion begins almost as soon as the novel opens. Edna seems to enjoy the time she spends with her husband and her friends, but as the novel progresses, her compliant manner changes. Edna begins to rebel against her husband because she feels a new sense of freedom. Leonce says that his wife [ . . . ] evinced so little in things which concerned him, and valued so little his conversation (Chopin 12). Edna does not respect Leonce and desires to have more in life that just a judging, dominant, and offensive husband. Edna continues to rebel against Leonce and [a]n undesirable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness,