We will revisit Kate Chopin's well-known novel, The Awakening, through a reconsideration of the apparently familiar notion of awakening. An encounter will be staged between the text of The Awakening and that of George Bataille's Inner Experience. Awakening will thus come to read "awakening-unto-death," awakening qua recognition and acceptance of the fact of death, the absolute limit of experience and knowledge. The moment at the very end of the novel, the moment Edna is ready to embrace the unknown of the sea, will be identified as the promise of this awakening. A last image this reading will risk will be that of an Edna beyond the novel, an Edna laughing while swimming. The events preceding and supposedly leading to this ending will be read as a story of intoxication, an intoxication meant to avoid or at least postpone the moment of awakening as awakening-unto-death.


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pp. 477-495
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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