Awakening vs. Greenleaf

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A strong critique by existentialist writers of modern society is the way in which humans live unexamined, meaningless lives with no true concept of what it is to be an unique individuals. In Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening and in Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Greenleaf” the characters Edna and Mrs. May, respectively, begin almost as common, stock characters living unfulfilled lives. They eventually converge, however, upon an elevated life and death filled …

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…she might not have changed much if she survived, the important aspect of this encounter is that she can only find true, peaceful life fulfillment through the supernatural. Through their deaths, and not until their deaths, Edna Pontellier and Mrs. May experience an individualism that is not self-centered, but unique while still holding on to the idea of love of others. Edna finds love through her children and Mrs. May finds love through the supernatural.