The Sea In The Awakening

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In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, the main character Edna has a fascination with the sea that is never satiated. In the outset of her life she is mystified by it because she is unable to swim. To Edna, the sea represents the ultimate place for solitude and contemplation; the sea invites “the soul to wander for a spell of abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.” (13). When she finally learns to swim she pushes herself to go farther and farther, where no woman has ever gone before. The progression of Edna skill in the water also closely correlates with her mental awakening. Edna’s first step in her awakening is triggered because she hears the sounds of the sea and begins “to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her” (33). Due to this event in her…show more content…
When she first swims she swims too far and has “a quick vision of death” (72). Her fear of death show that she has not fully awakened. At her next swimming expedition, Edna swims extremely far out and does not even begin to have fear or doubt. This shows how much she has awakened from the beginning of the book. The freedom of the sea allows Edna to want more from life and to realize that living in a life in which she is bound by society is not worth living at all. As she begins to realize that she probably can never achieve the freedom she wants, she begins to seek a way out. Searching for an answer to her life leads her back to the very thing which woke her up in the first place as she realizes that life is not worth living without the freedom that was withheld from women of the time. Entirely awake for the first time in her life, Edna decides that her life is meaningless and takes a swim out farther than she knew she should have. It is not clear, but it seems that she swam out in an effort to kill herself, and she

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