“She used to have unspoken thoughts and feelings all her life.” The author described the main character of the book The Awakening, Edna. In fact, we can ascribe this definition to her as well. Kate Chopin is one of the first names that comes to mind when we talk about feminist literature. Owner of unspoken and unconventional thoughts and works. Of course, while reading her works and trying to understand what was on her mind, we should not forget that her fictions reflect the last quarter of the 19th century. Chopin, who was a French-American, put forward the local characteristics and culture of the period in her works in a realistic way. When reading “Desiree’s Baby”, a husband who expels his wife and child for such a simple reason, you may say “He can not be serious” but this exactly reflected the bitter reality of the period.
You can see that Chopin had marginal ideas, in late 19th century America, when women did not yet have the right to vote, literature was the only medium where they could express their opinions. Only in this way could women writers make their voices. So why did these writers, Chopin in particular, take the life of their characters by suicide? When we read, should we think that the main characters are cowards or that these deaths are a rebellion? Awakening opens when Edna, the main character of the book, begins to question the institution of marriage. Edna is a married woman, she has children and a husband who makes money, and she is in a good financial situation to go to her summer vacation. Most readers leave the book with a criticism of what is wrong with this woman, why she is unhappy, why she is cheating on her husband. In fact, an expression has emerged as “the problem that has no name”. Such a diagnosis was made because the housewives could not understand why they were unhappy; problem with no name, no cause. These ideas are contradictory ideas that still garner reactions. The main character of the book, Edna, is a woman who has “everything” as the critics say. Throughout the book, as she enters the lives of different people, she questions the concepts of matrimony and motherhood. Most importantly, she is experiencing a sexual awakening – again, this book was published in 1899-.
So why can’t she go on with her life? Because once you wake up, you can’t go back to sleep. Knowing all these, female main characters cannot continue to live in a male-dominated society. We see the same suicide incident in Sylvia Plath’s Glass Bell, reflecting the suicide attempts of the main character in search of identity. Although suicide is perceived as cowardice and powerlessness, these authors saw suicide as a rebellion and carried it to their books. Perhaps it was written for the reader to have an awakening as well because the uprising of women who could not even vote at that time could be achieved in this way.