Edna Pontellier In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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In Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening, the protagonist Edna Pontellier comes to a realization that her life has little meaning, prompting her to go mad which ultimately leads to a tragic, yet satisfying end for Edna after failing to find true happiness. Edna seeks to find some sort of meaning for her whole existence. She searches for a long time after becoming independent but in the end fails. Her quest to find happiness is considered mad by the society of her time, as women were meant to be house wives and dedicated to their husband’s wishes and children’s wellbeing’s. The moment of Edna’s change is when she acknowledges her love for Robert Lebrun, a man she met while on vacation. Edna realizes that her husband, Leonce, no longer matters to her and that she would be happier if she were with Robert. Edna wishes to become independent and slowly throughout the novel does, she even moves out of the family house and into a small house around the corner known as the “pigeon house”. Her desire to make her own choices and be free is what leaves her wanting to breakaway. Edna even gets to the point of disobeying Leonce and not…show more content…
According to Edna the sea is “inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude.” As if calling for her body to lay rest in suicide. The novel ends as Edna swims intensely though consciously into her death. As stated best in the novel, “the voice of the sea speaks to the soul”(14). The only physical way for Edna to be happy is to be with Robert. Being an impossible task, Edna seeks pleasure by freeing her soul into the sea. The sea cleanses away Edna’s body, which has endured much under oppression, until all that’s left is her soul. Rather than return to her previous life of madness in Louisiana, Edna chooses to completely free herself, which means ultimately suiciding by drowning in the ocean. That moment of Edna’s death is when she escapes her madness and becomes free at last after
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