Suicide In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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The act of suicide is rarely seen as a positive embracing of freedom or an act of re-birth. Kate Chopin’s bildungsroman, The Awakening, suggests that it was impossible for a woman to be free within the confines of the social constructs and standards of the time in which she lived, ultimately resulting in the protagonist’s detrimental yet inevitable death. Chopin supports her argument by demonstrating the outcome of a woman who intends to break social barriers, defines sexual identity and its consequences, and contrasts a character with ruthless determination that eventually quietly chooses death. Despite the novel’s title, Edna Pontellier, suffers from an inescapable ending as she comes to the realization that she lives a paradoxical life: she wanted a life she simply could not live in her day and age. Critics argue that the greatest flaw in the …show more content…
Bogarad’s argument suggests that is demeaning to build on the pattern of madness and suicide by limiting a woman’s ending to such small boxes. Similar to a glass of water, it’s initial weight may not be significantly heavy. However, continuously holding that glass would result in a sore and strained arm. Similarly, Edna’s struggles were suppressed for such extended periods of time, where she chose to either run away from them literally or mentally, the weight and emotional baggage of it all became undeniably unbearable. Having lived in a controlling environment was most definitely a contributing factor in Edna’s discontent with family life, inability to cope with Robert’s rejection, and ultimately, her suicide as well. Her death was not properly foreshadowed throughout the novel as Chopin fosters the idea that somehow, Edna would conquer her battles both within herself, and those around her. Ultimately, The Awakening may be a breakthrough feminist novel that challenged the basics of societal standards for women, the ambiguous yet lacking ending of a simple kill-off leaves too much room for

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