Great literature of the early 1900's usually consisted of controversial issues, which clashed with the views of society of that time period. One of the most popular issues is that of Edna Pontellier's suicide in Kate Chopin's The Awakening. Suicide was not something an upper middle class woman would commit, and reasonably a shocker, since many felt she had more respectable ways to handle her situation. However, Kate Chopin shows throughout the story that Edna did indeed take the most honorable out she had, given the social customs of that time. Since Edna realizes that she cannot be a good mother and still live her life the way she wants, she makes the only choice that will free her children and her husband. Also, Edna learns that Robert will not always be there, and she will eventually be alone, so by choosing death she frees herself of continuing a miserable existence. While lastly Edna's suicide was an act of liberation and courage, as she drowns Robert, her hopes, and dreams, in an attempt to free her from the lies her life consisted of. The following is an essay defending Chopin's views on Edna's choice of freeing herself from society's confinement. .
Edna's realization that her new way of life is unfit for raising her children, shows that she has truly turned from thinking only of herself, allowing her to understand that if she continues to ignore society's rules, she will ruin her sons' chances of succeeding in life. Knowing that she cannot sacrifice herself and go back to the old way of life, she takes the only other route open to her at the time, and by committing suicide, she gives her life for her children without sacrificing herself. Chopin shows that Edna is thinking of her children when she commits suicide, because right before she goes through with her act the reader reads: "She understood now clearly what she had meant long ago when she said to Adele Ratignolle that she would give up the nonessential, but she would never sacrifice herself for her children.