Tuesday, September 13, 2011
After today's class discussion of Kate Chopin's The Awakening I am left questioning my personal view of the end of the book. Although, I believe this was Chopin's intent when writing her novel, it bothers me that I continue to question the reasoning behind Edna's suicide and what it says about the rest of the novel. At the end of class we discussed two very oppositional sides of the ending. Some viewed it as a very romantic ending, making a strong conclusion to what was a rather "loud" text for women's rights at the time. On the other side of the coin others argued that is was a very tragic ending, as Edna spends her entire journey during the novel "awakening" to her suppression as a woman, but only to squander all that she had escaped by committing a tragic suicide. She left behind no evidence of the progess she had made and in essence just disappeared. As I left class today and even during I was rather bewildered, as my title suggests. What was Chopin trying to communicate to her readers? Her writing is such that she is very elegant in descrete in all of her descriptions and messages that sometimes things aren't always as clear as I would like them to be. Although that is typical of the era in which she wrote this book, I find it frustrating at times to me as a reader. Just like this ending that is filled with so many question marks. When i first read the text, I saw the ending as a very romanticized one. I saw Chopin using the suicide as the final "great escape" for Edna, as her ultimate "awakening" of her suppression within the world. However, after discussion today I had to question this reading. Was Chopin making a statement about women at the time who were expeiencing their awakening who did not know how to deal with it? They take this new found freedom and let it drive them to the point of death. A classmate made an interesting point about the biography of Chopin and her personal struggles with Depression and having to see a doctor to deal with such bouts in her own life. Frankly, I'm still bewildered. I wrote this blog in a hope to find a resolution for myself by the end, but i have not. I'm left out in the questioning abyss, which is perhaps what Chopin herself intended.