The endings of both A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen and The Awakening by Kate Chopin convey a new beginning for their protagonists through the destruction of hope in their relationships.
The characters are on missions for their own happiness, which is a controversial mindset for women to have during the times that the books were written (the late 1800s). The women are expected to be inferior to their husbands and abide to their needs. Edna shows a more drastic transition than Nora in which she develops and matures as an independent woman, allowing her to choose herself over her husband. In the beginning of The Awakening, Edna is pictured as being submissive. She is concerned for her husband and does what is expected of her, such as offering to oversee dinner-- "'Coming back to dinner?' his wife called after him" (Chopin 3). At the end of the novel, however, she is independent and makes her own decision to move out of her house. Chopin writes, "Without even waiting for an answer from her husband regarding his opinion or wishes in the matter, Edna hastened her preparations for quitting her home on Esplanade Street and moving into the little house around the block" (Chopin 93). An evident change in Edna is present, as the desires of her husband are no longer her top priority. Her newfound confidence and ability to put her own wishes first are the primary changes that occur for Edna and adumbrate her tragically beautiful demise. Edna goes to the beach to commit suicide. Thus, the same place that she once ventured to to find serenity, she now goes to for eternal peace, conveying her depression. She does not view death as a negativity, as she has accepted that she cannot have a relationship with Robert. The destruction of hope in her relationship leads her to everlasting peacefulness and a new beginning.
In A Doll House, Nora's history is explored, establishing her has a previously rebellious character through her scandal. However, her husband is not aware of her actions. When Nora becomes aware that he may find out, she appears nervous and afraid of him, doing everything in her power to keep him away from the mailbox. Nora expresses, "Nothing can save us now. The letter is in the mailbox" (Ibsen 1128). Nora's despair causes her to appear subordinate, but her decision to leave her husband at the end conveys her power as an independent person-- parallel to Edna. At the end of the play, Nora is demanding and aware of what she wants-- which is to no longer be held back by her husband. Nora orders, "Here is your ring back. Now give me mine" (Ibsen 1150). By running away from her husband, she sets herself free from his obsession with reputation and is able to live her life as she pleases.
The inconclusive endings of both works exemplify the new realities that both women will be experiencing (a new, free life for Nora and a disenthralled life after death for Edna)-- realities of uncertainty and freedom. They are no longer restricted by their husbands, and their independent decisions are the result of the strength they have acquired after being unhappy for so long. The women epitomize self-determination through the endings of their stories, and their rebellion against society's standards emanate their confidence during a time of personal fragility.