Why did Edna kill herself in The Awakening?

In The Awakening, Edna kills herself when her lover, Robert, leaves her. She has failed to find happiness or fulfillment in anything, and she gives in to despair.

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In The Awakening, Edna Pontellier, the protagonist, commits suicide at the end of the novel because her lover Robert Lebrun has left her but also because she has failed to find her true place in the world.

By this point in the novel, Edna has turned her back on much of her life. She has never been fully satisfied in marriage and motherhood. Unlike her friend Adèle, Edna does not identify herself as a wife and mother. She is not satisfied with those roles, yet she does not entirely pretend to be either. She has floated through life, unable to settle into anything.

After her time at Grand Isle and Robert's first departure, Edna tries to strike out on her own. She engages in new activities (painting and gambling on horse races), asserts her independence, begins an affair with another man, and even moves out of her family's home and into a little house of her own. Yet nothing makes her truly happy. She is constantly searching and never finding.

When Robert returns, Edna renews her affair with him. But while she is helping Adèle, Robert leaves with only a short note telling Edna that he loves her but is leaving because he loves her. Edna does not understand. She becomes depressed, filled with despair, and after a sleepless night, she goes out to Grand Isle, swims out from shore, stops swimming, and drowns. Losing Robert is the final blow in a long search for happiness and fulfillment that feels impossible for her to achieve in her restrictive society.

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