Owning of self, through dying
Throughout Kate Chopin’s masterpiece work the protagonist Edna Pontellier slowly undergoes her own very personal and private awakening. The nature of Edna's awakening stems from her feelings of being trapped forever in her societal roles of wife and mother. Edna, beginning with her infatuation with Robert Lebrun, slowly becomes consumed with her quest to regain her own self worth. Edna longs to live her life without the constraints of her societal duties, without her husband brooding over her as if she is one of his worldly possessions.
The two major roles and societal duties thrust upon her day after day are that of wife and mother. Throughout the story as Edna attempts to become more and more independent, these duties of wife and mother she allows to slip. The seeds of the beginnings of this slippage in her duties are planted in her summer in Grand Isle. Specifically, her realization of some deep inner thoughts occurs with the coming to understand and acknowledge her curiosity of her infatuation with Robert Lebrum. Along with her realization of her feelings for Robert she becomes increasingly aware that her husband does not satisfy her emotionally as a life partner.
Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of fate. "tm He added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage. When she tries to explain that she would sacrifice her life but not herself for her children, Ratignolle cannot understand. Second Edna"tms role as a mother, the second role she feels traps her into society"tms framework is one more complex. The pressure of her two roles of wife and mother and her fleeting daydreaming attitude lead her to begin her descent into a near crazy state. Before Edna swims out into the ocean in some of her last moments her thoughts turn to her children. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc, 1970. In the end when she dies she is completely alone. Edna in dying is taking the ultimate control of her life; in the only way she can during a time when males ruled society. " (Chopin 201) Here Leonce lays concern upon his wife"tms appearance as a possession. She increasingly slips in and out of her daydream like states. "And the ladies" all declared that Mr. (Chopin 207)Edna"tms marriage and the children that became of it in Edna own words were an "accident".