Why does Edna commit suicide at the end of the book?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Throughout The Awakening, as the title suggests, protagonist Edna Pontellier slowly realizes that she is not content with her situation in life. Edna is an upper-class white woman living in New Orleans just before the turn of the twentieth century. As such, there are expectations and norms for her behavior. She should be the ideal Victorian housewife, devoting her life to her husband and children. Before the pivotal summer at Grand Isle with which the novella opens, Edna moves through her life unquestioning of the social expectations that govern her existence. However, the combination of the sea, Mademoiselle Reisz's enchanting piano music, and her close friendship with Robert Lebrun results in Edna's awakening: she wants more from her life than society will allow her.

Edna's dissatisfaction with her marriage grows in Grand Isle, as we see her husband chide and criticize her about her care of their children. However, it seems that the problem isn't exactly with Leonce Pontellier (as most...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 728 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on