Swim Far Far Away
“A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no women had swum before” (X, 47).
Throughout life we have all come across a moment when we seek to discover our identity and what our purpose is in life. We strive to uncover what we want to do with our lives and what the future holds for us. Our minds are filled with questions and decisions that make us realize how hard life is.
This was quite the case for the protagonist Edna Pontellier in the famous novel, The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. The novel portraits Edna as a young wife who searches to figure out her true identity in the mist of falling in love with another man other than her husband. She is wrapped around her desire to be with Robert at times as well as being alone and free from everyone surrounding her. In fact, in the schema of spending a summer at Grand Isle, Edna realized that, “…she was seeing with different eyes and making the assimilation of new conditions in herself that colored and changed her environment…” (XIV 67). She begins to discover the meaning of who she is and what she really wants in life. We can all relate to this, especially during our teen years because we are growing and learning more about what we want and who we want in our lives.
However, as the story continues, Edna loses hope in ever finding her soul purpose in life, when she recognizes that Robert is moving to Mexico without having consented with her before hand. As soon as he leaves, she falls in a deeper hole of confusion with her life and digs deeper into living farther and farther away from her precious kids and her dull husband. In fact, “there were days when she was unhappy, she did not know why — when it did not seem worth while to be glad or sorry, to be alive or dead, when life appeared to her like a grotesque pandemonium and humanity like worms struggling blindly toward inevitable annihilation” (97). She lost hope and found no light at the end of the tunnel.
This similar feeling that Edna felt as she struggles to discover her identity can be seen in each and everyone one us at some point in our lives. Whether it be figuring out our true love, where we would like to attend college, and much more. With all these decisions we are constantly thinking of what will benefit us in the long run and as we take a step forward, we end up falling back into a deeper hole of confusion. Above all what we learn about these moments in our lives is not the frustration, but the fact that we realize how hard life can be.We begin to acknowledge that life is not a piece of cake, but instead a jungle full of triumphs and struggles in which we learn to uncover reality.
Furthermore as the story proceeds we learn of Edna’s somber death. Although much controversy has been talked about the ending of the novel with the fact that it is too ambiguous, I believe that the ending served a much greater purpose for each and everyone of us. For me it meant that Edna had finally awakened from her dream; she was flustered with finding her true identity and being confused, but at the end she was at peace with herself.
Additionally, just how Edna struggled with finding out her true self, I felt the same way when trying to make my final college decision. I was between Chapman, UCR, and UCI. Each day before May 1st I was tormented with the decision I had to make because I was afraid of making a mistake. I knew that if I went to Chapman I would encounter smaller classes, a one to one contact with my teachers, and an amazing campus, which I loved from the first time I stepped onto the campus. If I went to UCR however I would make my dream become reality because I would dorm with my best friend whom I left sophomore year when I transferred schools. Since middle school we had promised that we would attend the same college and now that I had the chance to do so, it wasn’t such an easy decision. Each night I asked myself if I was ready to leave my family and move out to start my own life. This was one aspect that tormented me each night because my family mean the world to me; I am so close to them that it would hurt me if I wouldn’t see them each day for at least an hour. Finally, if I went to UCI, I was afraid of the larger classes, the fact that I wouldn’t be with my best friend, and how big the campus would be. However, this was the only school where I wouldn’t be on debt because I wouldn’t dorm there at least for the first year….
Although this was a tremendously hard decision for me, I simply asked God to help me with this situation and let it be his will to let me make the right decision. After much deliberation and headaches, I made my final choice this week…. I chose UCI because it was closer, more convenient, and most importantly it was better for my major, which is psychology. Despite, my decision my mind continues to linger with sadness of not being able to attend such an amazing school such as Chapman or the fact that I won’t be with my best friend for college. We have promised one another that we will talk to each other once a week on the phone, go visit one another, and continue to grow our friendship as the years go by.
This decision was one of the hardest ones I have made in life, but it showed me that life is full of surprises; that sometimes we just have to accept what God places in front of us because he will never give us a task we can’t complete. I also realized that now as I am growing up and starting to begin new chapters in my life, I will have to encounter more of these decisions on my own. And even if I do make a mistake, I only hope to learn from them so that in the future I don’t commit them again.
I would love to hear your guys opinions (:
Quote: “Be Brave! God gives his hardest battles to his bravest soldiers.” -Unknown
“One of the hardest parts of life is deciding whether to walk away or try harder.” -Unknown