AP Eng Lang
10 November 2014
In a society ruled by powerful men, women struggle to find a voice loud enough to be heard. In the novel, by Kate Chopin, titled The Awakening, Edna Pontellier attempts to find her place on the spectrum of the female role in society. Finding middle ground between a woman who devotes her life to her family and an independent, self-assertive woman proves to be an unattainable task. Edna's final awakening embodies an act of true freedom because she achieves her intended goal by letting her soul soar on her own terms for no one other than herself.
The events leading up to Edna's final act of societal defiance are childish and immature, yet in her mind they are justified because she accomplishes independence from her suffocating life. The responsibilities of domestic care drown Edna so much so that she only feels free when she floats out to sea by herself.
As she swims far out and acknowledges her distance from the shore, she feels at peace without responsibilities. Naturally, Edna's suicide occurs at sea enabling her to spend her final moments of life in complete peace. In her mind, suicide is Edna's only option because that is her way to escape a lifestyle that demands so much of the female race: "The children appeared before her like antagonists who had overcome her; who had overpowered and sought to drag her into the soul's slavery for the rest of her days. But she knew a way to elude them" (Chopin 108). Edna's children are an immensely heavy burden that she feels are unnecessary for her to carry. Edna's way of "eluding" her children is to cut herself off from her children and to no longer exist in their lives.