For me the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin was exhausting and boring to read. I likewise think Edna is exceptionally childish and selfish. That’s what I thought at first, however as I read and began understanding her intentions, I have an alternate idea on the book. She is trying to find herself, it is about self-revelation and recognition. Although some of her actions still show selfishness and narrow mindedness, I understand her motives behind everything.
In the context of the 19th century, women’s first priority should be to take care of their children. On the other hand, Edna is described as not a “mother”. When exchanging views on the mother’s debt to the child, Edna declared that her personality is more important than her mother. I will pay my money, I will give my life for my children, but I will not give myself” (page 57). Edna’s adolescence prompted her to fight for self-discovery, which resulted in She neglected responsibilities such as childbirth. Edna is not a conscientious mother. I can’t accept this ending. Although some people say that her children can be taken care of by their grandma and Léonce, if I am the child, I would rather see my parents divorce, to be more accurate ‘not in love anymore’ rather than hearing about my mother’s death. Edna loves her children and she still cares about them. “She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them” (p. 21).
Approaching the end of the novel, Edna shares her final thought about Robert before she commits suicide, “he did not know; he did not understand. He would never understand” (p. 116). Instead of contemplating how she would break her dearest companion’s heart with her final act, she only reflects on how he had never understood her. Edna deserts everyone who had cared for her and who she had relied upon, without much consideration.
Edna’s actions can be justified with the social standards today. However, She did them all in aiming to fill the void in her miserable life, where she had no control over anything without the approval of a man. Edna sees more to her life, potentials and dreams, although she never had the chance to proceed as she could not handle the consequences it came with. As a mother and as a lover, Edna is selfish. As an individual, her choice of putting herself first in any circumstances and to control her own destiny, makes her almost admirable.