One of the major images and symbols in the novel The Awakening is at the very end when Edna drowns herself. As she goes out into the water, "the foamy wavelets curled up to her white feet, and coiled like serpents about her ankles." The irony of the scene is that Edna has learned how to swim, so here she is certainly exhibiting an act of agency by swimming far out into the water that used to scare her. Now, she is not scared and as she swims she recalls all the troubles and misunderstandings of her life. Her drowning symbolically represents her freeing herself from what she felt was a life of restriction. Here in the water, she experiences that which her life did not allow.