Suicide is a last and final resort for people who see no other option or point in their life; often times, people feel trapped or enclosed in their life by indestructible rules or restrictions. The Hours by Michael Cunningham depicts a character named Laura Brown in the 1950s, who is weighed down by her duties as a mother and a wife. Similarly,The Awakening by Kate Chopin presents a character in the 19th century, Edna Pontellier, who confirms reality with suicide to defy being a possession of society. Lastly, in A Doll’s House, Nora Helmer hopes to escape shaming her family because of her forgery onto business papers; she broke the rules of being a woman in the time period. In all three works, The Hours by Michael Cunningham, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, and The Awakening by Kate Chopin, the female protagonists: Nora and Laura, contemplate the idea of suicide as a symbol from escape and eternal freedom from living lives that will restrict them or their family, while Edna sees her suicide as a form of reality. Edna Pontellier,Laura Brown, and Nora Helmer show concern of misfitting or failing in their domestic duties. They view suicide as an escape or reality from this pressure. For example, Laura Brown imagines herself acting or playing a part, when she tends to her husband or her son. “ She is again possessed..as if she is standing in the wings, about to go on stage and perform in a play for which she has not adequately rehearsed”( Cunningham 49). The analogy to acting explains that Laura Brown is a character in her own life. Though she tries to be a good housewife, it is unnatural to her. She feels obligated to perform since her husband, a veteran of war, and their son need her. Furthermore, Laura Brown feels entrapped in her identity as a housewife and desires to live like an artist. Similarly, Edna Pontellier struggles to find her identity aside from her children and husband. Like Laura Brown, Edna’s marriage to her husband and her responsibility as a mother, deny her of her own passions and awakenings. After Edna sees the world through a new perspective, she refuses to conform to society’s expectations of woman . Her rebellions, such as moving into the “pigeon house” and leaving her family, confirm her discontent with society and its rules. Her conflict with expressing herself in her own way and protecting her children from society’s view explain her struggle of balancing the two. Lastly, Nora Helmer embraces her role of mother and wife blindly until her own awakening. Her awakening forces her to realize she has pretended to be someone else, in order to please Torvald and the demands of society. Her failure, that pressures her into suicide is in her right as a wife in the late 19th century. By forging her signature on loan papers, she contemplates suicide as an escape for her husband and children who she feels will be rid of the consequences thorough her suicide. All three protagonists suffer internal conflicts within themselves, which drives the to the idea of suicide.
The three female protagonists view suicide as either an escape or a reality. Edna Pontellier’s suicide is her reality; it is the one choice that rids her children from living a life that labels them as kids of a rebellious mother It is also the one choice that doesn’t require her to give up herself.The significance of Edna’s suicide lies in the fact that she dies because she refuses to conform to society’s view on woman for the sake of her children “She thought of Leonce and her children. But they need not have though they could possess her body and soul”(Chopin 156). Edna’s suicide represents her final rebellion;she gives up her life for her children but does not give up herself for her children by staying with them. Unlike Edna, Laura Brown felt peace in the option of suicide, but never viewed it as her one and only option. Suicide, for her, also symbolized escape from