Death In Edna Pontellier's The Awakening

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In the novel, The Awakening, Edna Pontellier commits the final act of embracing death once she comes to the realisation that she would always be chained by her obligation to her children thus being incapable of achieving ultimate freedom. To Edna, death becomes a type of spiritual triumph over and a defiant refusal against society and her children’s constraints. She refuses to regression back to her previous self, the demure, submissive woman she was before she arrived at Grand Isle, before she ever came in contact with the Gulf, her true first and final lover, and discovered her true self. The seductive “never ceasing, whispering, clamouring” waters of the sea called to Edna with promises of freedom and rebirth as soon as she stepped foot on Grand Isle. Its murmurs sparked her repressed thirst for passion that she quickly quelled as she fell into the embrace of the waves and allowed “the voice of the sea speak to [her] soul.” Soon Edna subconsciously dived into the pleasures of freedom and…show more content…
She felt as if “every step she took toward relieving herself from obligations added to her strength and expansion as an individual.” This acquired sense of confidence Edna receives briefly leaves her when she comes to realise something about motherhood during the process of Madame Ratignolle’s, her character foil’s, childbirth: that there is a unity between mother and child that she cannot escape. She acknowledges that her small instinct of motherhood prevents her from living a life without her child, but is very much unwilling to regress back to just being “Raoul and Etienne’s mother” and “Leonce’s wife;” to do so would be to give up herself, something she swore she would never do. To defy this, Edna returned to the supple touch of the sea to be
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