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A Return to the Sea

A Return to the Sea

By Shan-Li Barkovich

Edna Pontellier’s story culminates in death, but not in destruction. The last pages of Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening detail Edna’s final moment on the shore of Grand Isle in a position that may indicate her defeat as one who has attempted to break free from the conformities of what it means to be a woman in 19th-century America, but may also represent her success in accepting the impossibility of her situation and taking control of the one thing she has power over: her mortality.