The Awakening – Personal Response

Reading this book, we get to learn about Edna’s awakening and her experiences with growing as an individual. We are able to see the hardships of her willingness to meet society’s standards of “motherhood” and how her relationships with not only her children but her romantic relationships expressed her awakening. Edna most often prioritized herself and her own independence over her children. This made me connect The Awakening directly with A Doll’s House, a play we had read previously. I see a strong resemblance in character between Nora and Edna. Both characters not truly knowing themselves and being dictated and forced to adhere to societal standards. Both women were not happy in their current state and had enough. The expectations for women in both pieces of literature were high. Women and mothers had to take on a large role in taking care of their family and being a good housewife. Edna and Nora are two women that disregarded these expectations and eventually had a turning point which resulted in them leaving for themselves. I don’t think it was wrong for these women to leave, I think it was strong of them to do so but I don’t think they should have abandoned their children.

The ending was shocking to me as I did not see the death of Edna coming. This raised many questions for me. What was Kate Chopin indicating with this ending? It was left ambiguous and up to the readers to interpret, which was not favorable for me. I question whether or not the death was intentional? What did Edna’s death represent? Was she leaving behind society and the high standards society had towards motherhood? What realization does Edna have before she swims out and loses strength? To me, I believe her death was intentional and she had to leave for herself. She might have come to the realization that the life she was living was not the life she wanted for herself. We learn that she has a perfect husband and many other companions that fill her needs, she has lovely children and many friends but she is still unhappy. She wanted rid of the high standards and expectations society had for her. Edna had always felt a sense of freedom and independence when swimming and perhaps she wanted to leave Grand Isle with that same sense of freedom and independence. 

Overall, this novel was interesting and raised many questions and further discussions, especially towards the end. I am curious to learn how other readers interpret the ending.


One thought on “The Awakening – Personal Response”

  1. Nice personal response Chantal!! I like how you asked questions that were raised by the novel. Do you have any quotations that prove your points about Edna being unhappy and some of the other claims you were making?

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