Deconstruction,Feminism And Gender In "The Awakening" By Kate Chopin.

932 words - 4 pages

Kate Chopin's second and final novel, The Awakening, was published in 1899 at the height ofher popularity. Ironically, this work, now regarded as a classic, essentially marked the end ofChopin's writing career. The Awakening has now earned a place in the literary canon for theway it uses these formal and structural techniques to explore themes of marriage,motherhood and woman's independence, desire, and sexuality. In my opinion all these issuesare best seen in the last chapter. That's why I am to write about it.Chapter XXXIX begins on Grand Isle. Victor and Mariequita flirt and discuss Edna'sdinner party while Victor does construction work. Unexpectedly, they see Edna walkingtoward them. It is still long before the summer season, but Edna explains that she has comealone to the island in order to rest. She makes plans to have lunch with the pair and then walksdown to the beach for a swim, ignoring Victor and Mariequita's claims that the water is muchtoo cold. As she walks along the beach, Edna's thoughts are utterly different. Once shereaches the water, she removes the garment with no one in sight. Edna stands "naked in theopen air, at the mercy of the sun, the breeze that beat upon her, and the waves that invitedher." She swims out into the water. Eventually tiredness goes beyond her. The recollections ofher early days fill her thoughts as she gives up to the expanse of the deep.First thing I would like to describe is deconstruction. I would like to point that the lastscene brings the variety of meanings and interpretations. On the one hand, the suicide is an actof final capitulation to the power of social traditions. On the other hand such a surrender isgenerous--that Edna does not want to "trample on the little lives" of her sons and cause thempain. The suicide can also be seen as Edna's rebellious declaration of her own will: becauseEdna refuses to be tied down and to sacrifice "herself," she bravely sacrifices her life for thesake of upholding her integrity and sovereignty. According to Mademoiselle Reisz's words:"The artist must possess the courageous soul that dares and defies."By drowning herself she ensures that her last act is a self-determined one. Then we canpresume that she kills herself because she can't stand being without Robert, whom she loveswith all her heart. Edna feels an overwhelming sense of solitude.Alone in a world in which she has found no feeling of belonging, she can find only oneanswer to the unavoidable and heartbreaking boundaries of society. She returnsto Grand Isle, the site of her first moments of emotional, sexual, and intellectual awareness,and, in a final escape, gives herself to the sea. Then we can also consider another reason.She commits suicide simply because she is in love in Madam...

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