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Dig up your trench coat, grab your magnifying glass, and stick on that fake mustache (we know you have one): it's time to unleash your inner Sherlock Holmes and analyze the ending of The Awakening. Was it suicide? Or was it an accident?
|19th-Century Literature||19th-Century American Literature|
|American Literature||19th-Century American Literature|
All American Literature
|Author||Chopin - Kate Chopin|
|Themes||Art and Culture|
Life, Consciousness, and Existence
Respect and Reputation
Society and Class
Women and Femininity
Or the study session you blew off so you could unlock the next level of Call of Duty.
Sure, the outcome wasn’t great, but it was definitely a product of your decision.
Usually, we emerge from our misadventures unscathed, and ready to screw up another day.
Ain't life grand? In Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, feisty
heroine Edna is having a rough time adjusting to life as an independent woman.
She finally managed to ditch her husband and score a hottie bad boy. She’s even starting
to make a name for herself as a painter.
But then her "hear me roar" philosophy scares away the man she really wants…
…and she starts getting visits from the Guilt Fairy.
Edna's next move is to make a grand exit by drowning in the ocean.
Sure, she's a drama queen, but is this really the ending she intended? Was Edna's drowning
a suicide… or an accident? There are some pretty substantial arguments
for the "oopsie" theory.
Edna isn't exactly in a “safety first” mindset at this point. She's heartbroken and
freaking out about the future…not the best time for a little dip!
Sure, Edna’s a pretty moody gal, but she's got a lot to look forward to. She's finding
buyers for her paintings, and she has a pretty sweet bachelorette pad.
She's even making plans to bring home a couple rebound boyfriends. Why would Edna deliberately
end it all when she is finally achieving her goals?
Or, maybe Edna’s swan song is really an attempt to push the envelope.
Her friend Mademoiselle Reisz <Rice> tells her that, to succeed, she must become a "courageous
soul that dares and defies." In other words, art isn’t for wimps.
So how does Edna raise the shock factor after having two affairs and sort of leaving her
husband? Well, nothing says “I’m a risk-taker” quite like skinny-dipping in broad daylight.
The problem is, Edna is no Michael Phelps. She might be setting a personal record by
swimming farther than she has before…
…but by the end of the book, it’s “Ocean:1, Edna: 0.”
But what if Edna really did go on a suicide swim? She doesn’t have 99 problems, but
she’s got a few really big ones.
The early 1900s weren’t exactly about bra-burning and free love…
…and Edna’s behavior may have serious consequences.
If the news of her affairs ever went… viral, Edna’s husband could easily make sure she
never saw her children again.
There are also risks to her social life. Edna’s best friend, Adele, tells Edna to dump her
man-candy, or she’ll be flying solo for the next girl’s night out.
Even Edna’s crush is too chicken to handle a steamy affair... he'd rather make an honest
woman of her.
Edna has to choose between free life as an outcast and caged life as a man’s property,
and maybe that’s a decision she doesn’t want to make.
So what’s the verdict in this episode of CSI: New Orleans:
…or suicide? Shmoop amongst yourselves.