“She went on and one. She remembered the night she swam far out, and recalled the terror that seized her at the fear of being unable to regain the shore. She did not look back now, but went on and on, thinking of the blue-grass meadow that she had traversed when a little child, believing that it had no beginning and no end.” Chapter XXXIX.
During the 19th century, many novels involving women did not end happily when they realized and observed the world around them. They acknowledged what they liked and disliked and educated themselves on what’s right and what’s wrong. In a way, killing oneself through drowning makes a statement, it’s strong. It’s following through with something that many can’t fathom. It’s the reality setting in that to society they aren’t worth much as women and the only way to be free from it is death.
In a way, Edna’s death is a statement, as she drifts and thinks of her life, her childhood, her family and memories. She’s content with her death and that’s what’s so striking. She made the decision and that’s that.