Death is the fate of all creatures. From humans to the smallest organisms, such as an amoeba, death is inevitable and cannot be escaped. When pondering upon this, one can find great despair within this truth. Nevertheless, death can be premature. A premature death can be viewed as a death that comes before a being’s average age of death, or in shorter words “expiry date”. To bring this into light, premature death is seen in works of literature, specifically American narratives. Concisely, the narratives that will be brought into analysis include: The Awakening by Kate Chopin, “Paul’s Case” by Willa Cather, and Daisy Miller by Henry James.
Primarily, premature death is seen in the novella, The Awakening by Kate Chopin. In brief, this story revolves around Edna Pontellier, wife of a very wealthy Creole businessman, Léonce Pontellier. The novella focuses on the awakening of Edna who undergoes emotional and mental transformations that lead her to abandoning her lavish lifestyle in order to become “free” in her art, thereby “finding” herself. Feeling trapped by her sumptuous environment, she situates herself in a very infinitesimal abode, described as a “pigeon house” (89), where she remains in solitude. At the end of the novel, she swims out to the sea, ultimately being overwhelmed by the depths and drowns.
In addition, another illustration of premature death is demonstrated in the short story, “Paul’s Case” by Willa Cather. At length, the narrative follows a high school student, Paul. Paul is suspended from his school and is weary of his lackluster middle-class life. Subsequently, he steals $1000 from his current employer and absconds to New York City. At this juncture, Paul reconnoiters the metropolis, only to find that his larceny has become public and that his father’s arrival in New York City to retrieve him is impending. Taking into account the pain and suffering that will be brought to him by returning to his former dreary life, Paul hurdles himself into a speeding train, which eradicates him.
To add to the current discussion, the closing case in point of premature death is illustrated by the novella, Daisy Miller by Henry James. This story depicts the meeting of a young attractive American woman, Daisy Miller, by a “refined” man, Winterbourne in the country of Switzerland. Winterbourne trails Daisy Miller in search of a possible relationship with her. In spite of this, Daisy rejects Winterbourne and goes on to visit Italy where the two meet again. In Italy, Daisy has found herself an aficionado, Giovanelli. At end, Winterbourne encounters Daisy and Giovanelli in the Coliseum at Rome. Hereafter, Daisy contracts a fever and perishes.
Bearing in mind the premature deaths of Edna Pontellier, Paul, and Daisy Miller, the purpose of this essay is to examine the causes for the premature deaths of these characters. Specifically, the argument expounded here will express the themes revealed by the demises of Edna Pontellier, Paul, and Daisy...