In class, we were discussing Edna's suicide at the end of The Awakening, and the main debate seemed to be whether her suicide represented giving up or freeing herself. I just wanted to elaborate on this because I found it to be a very interesting debate. Regardless of which side you take, I think everyone can agree that we wish she didn't have to kill herself, but I think that her suicide was not really presented as giving up. By drowning herself instead of killing herself in any other way, Chopin draws in the symbolism of the water as a representation of realizing freedom. Since this symbolism holds while she commits suicide, I feel that her suicide was meant to be a demonstration of her finally realizing that she cannot live in society anymore and deal with being controlled by societal roles and expectations, and seeing that society at the time unfortunately will never allow her to live how she wants to. Therefore, she kills herself as a way to take the ultimate control of her life, and feels as free as she felt as a child just before she drowns. This shows that she was only this free of societal expectations when she was a child, and thus would not consciously have any real societal roles.
I thought this was a really interesting debate in class, and I just want to know what eveyone else thinks about whether her suicide was giving up on life or taking control of it.