Sample Literature Essay Paper on The Awakening

The Awakening

The Final Chapter

In the final chapter of Chopin’s book titled The Awakening, Edna is planning her death but does not want her family to perceive it as suicide because it would hurt them. This is the reason she decides to ask Victor to make a special kind of lunch giving him hope that she would come back from swimming. She might have also done this as a special consideration to cultural prejudice that might accompany her death when it is recognized as suicide. However, the most interesting part in this chapter is the ways in which Chopin used flashback as symbolism. Before she could finally jump into the water, Edna decided to remain naked which can be interpreted as a sign of rebirth. She not only feels like a new creation-newborn child, but also thinks about her childhood recalling back her life[1]. Just like the bird she observed falling helpless on the water, Edna too decided to fly to her death by drowning herself. The action must have been a way of escape from all the slavery that she underwent as a child. She is taking control for ones in her life, and commanding the direction which her life is taking. At this point in her life, Edna is not utterly defeated instead she is controlling her destiny by making a personal choice without anyone to stop her.

Nevertheless, Edna’s death can be seen as a rebirth/awakening because she is now a free woman without any bondages or obstacles in her life. The theory of mental clarity is evident in this chapter because at this point of her life, Edna is fully aware of what she is doing. She had carefully planned for it and the fact that she is remembering her childhood shows that she is making clear that her actions are right. Among the people she recalls is Robert and her strong feelings for him especially the way in which he had rejected her. The truth is her physical death in this last chapter is more of a shadow of Edna’s social life which had already died. The only way she could defy the world is by drowning herself to allow her spirit to be free.

The Final Paragraph

Chopin used the aspects of ambiguity and suspense. She did not come clear whether Edna died or not instead left the readers to comprehend what happened. This is a provocative way of ending a story. There are no specific images of death, instead, Edna is thinking of her awakening, the ways in which drowning herself would make her victorious as she comes aware of her true self. The images and sensations of her childhood during these final moments of her life is Chopin’s way of showing readers that Edna had been living a life of bondage without any measure of true independence. Her childhood life had held her back to an extent that she did not have a proper social life; Edna had always felt defeated by the society. However, the images of her son show that Edna had a strong sensation of him and wanted to prevent him from suffering when he hears of her death. She did not want for him to feel that she was defeated by life.

The effect of the final paragraph on the readers is intense especially not knowing whether Edna finally became victorious by dying or not. Chopin only mentioned that “her strength was gone,” but that is not a clear indication of her being victorious[2]. One thing that the author wanted to achieve with this kind of suspense was to create curiosity among the readers leaving them to make their plot twist on the end of the story. 


Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. New Orleans: Herbert S. Stone & Co, 1899.

[1] Kate Chopin, The Awakening. (New Orleans: Herbert S. Stone & Co, 1899.

), 298.

[2] Kate Chopin, The Awakening. (New Orleans: Herbert S. Stone & Co, 1899.

), 302.