Essay on Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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Kate Chopin's The Awakening

In Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening, written approximately one hundred years ago, the protagonist Edna Pontellier's fate is resolved when she 'deliberately swims out to her death in the gulf'(Public Opinion, np). Her own suicide is indeed considered as a small, almost nonexistent victory by many, nevertheless there are those who consider her death anything but insignificant. Taking into consideration that 'her inability to articulate her feelings and analyze her situation [unattainable happiness] results in her act of suicide...'(Muirhead, np) portrays Edna as being incapable of achieving a release from her restricted womanhood as imposed by society. Others state that the final scene of the novel
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(Kate Chopin, np) where they are reduced to the value of mere material possessions. Such as the Creole Society was at the time. Kate Chopin?s The Awakening carries this relatively clear social implication through its ironic ending.
Using this scenario of social implications, Edna?s choices are obviously limited. Not all pointing to certain death yet unpromising of spiritual fulfillment, the decisions which Edna faces might have made more sense in the end but also might have delivered more negative reactions. As explained by Carley Rees Bogard:

Chopin...[had]...shown the only...[choices]...available-consuming life of Adele Ratignolle or the lonely existence of Mlle. Reiz. For Edna these choices are equally impossible; they are compromises of the radical vision she has conceived. She has not the patience or masochism for the former or the ascetic discipline for the latter.(np) The battle of the sexes takes part here. For instance, in the respective situation of a male hero, he is expected by all means to make the choice which Mlle. Reiz has accepted. Yet a heroine is by all means expected to succumb to her weakness, come to her senses, and reenter her the lifestyle of marriage and motherhood in which she would accept her duties ?like a man?, at least as far as their character development (Bogard, np). ?Edna will

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