The Awakening

When I was an English major a few years ago, we had to read The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

I don’t remember all the details of the book, but I do remember really liking it and feeling some kind of a connection with it.  It is about a woman in Louisiana in the late 1800’s.  She is married and is a mother of two.  She has always done what was expected of her and finds herself unhappily married with children.  She doesn’t want to be a mother anymore, nor does she want to be married.  It isn’t that she doesn’t love her husband and children; she is just tired of playing that role.

The line “She wanted something so happen – something, anything.  She did not know what” is kind of the theme of the book.  She searches in desperation for something to fill the hole that she feels.  This feeling overpowers her and she searches through different lifestyle options.  She tries swiming, having affairs, music, art, and other things.  She enjoys each new adventure, but never really has a feeling of fulfillment.

In the end, she has nothing.  She was never able to find something satisfying.  The first time that she feels “something” is when she goes swimming, and in the end of the book, she goes swimming again.  This time, she walks onto the beach and takes her bathing suit off.  She walks naked into the water and begins swimming.  She swims and swims – farther than ever before.  Her legs and arms feel heavy, and she drowns.

Sometimes I feel the same way.  I flounder from thing to thing; place to place; person to person.  I never feel satisfied with who, where, and what I am. It always leads me to think that I am of little worth.  I lack the motivation to do anything.  I have no feelings.  I’m numb.

I talked to my friend K (I really need to come up with a name for her, since I always talk about her) about how I’ve been feeling.  After talking about her (and others) similar feelings, I have decided to see a therapist about depression.

I don’t think it is severe.  I’ve never had suicidal thoughts.  I do get very down sometimes and lack any motivation or feeling.  I hesitate posting about this because I don’t want people to think that I’m seeking attention.  I don’t know if I am or not, but it is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and I wanted to get it off my chest.  So there it is.

On an unrelated note, I love the last few lines of the book when Edna dies, so I decided to add them here.  I just think that they are beautiful in their description.

It was too late; the shore was far behind her, and her strength was gone.

She looked into the distance, and the old terror flamed up for an instant, then sank again.  Edna heard her father’s voice and her sister Margaret’s.  She head the barking of an old dog that was chained to the sycamore tree.  The spurs of the cavalry officer clanged as he walked across the porch.  There was the hum of bees, and the musky odor of pinks filled the air.

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2 Responses

  1. I love that book. So good.

  2. Hey man. I hope that you feel this way, but I’m always here for you in any way that you need. Too bad we’re not roomies – if we were, we could really certainly talk more. But really Jeff, you’re such a genuinely good person and an incredible friend. Your concern for others leads you to care for them, speak with and for them, and help them. You’re very brave as well, and I’m so grateful to you for our friendship. I want to help you, I’m here, but I don’t want to impose…please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you that you would appreciate. Love you man. Really.

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