In some novels the protagonist takes his/her own life for a variety of reasons, while in other books, the death of a character affects the direction of the plot. In Mrs. Dalloway, Septimus' suicide is a major event in the novel. But, how do these deaths affect the lives of the other characters in the story? Tragedy and death gives way to further tragic consequences... Read more about suicides in literature.
Kate Chopin explores the theme of illusion and reality in her final novel, The Awakening
. The story of Edna Pontellier was criticized as immoral, vulgar, morbid, and was even called "sex fiction." In the end, the sea is seductive, calling to Edna until finally she listens to the voice of the sea.
Carson McCullers worked on The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
for a year--frustrated--until she created John Singer, a deaf-mute, around whom the lives of Biff Brannon, Mick Kelly, Jake Blout, and Doctor Copeland revolved. The interaction between these characters is "an event," because "it almost never happens." In their troubled lives, the characters gravitate toward Singer. But, with the death of his friend, Singer takes his own life.
Read about the "speed and life." Mrs. Dalloway
is filled with this and so much more: "life, death, sex, love, marriage, parenthood, youth, age, the present and the past, memory, London, war, reason, unreason, loyalty, medicine, social snobbery, friendship, compassion, cruelty..." Perhaps in all of this, you'll learn something about yourself.
This novel is the story of Emma Bovary, who was full of dreams and romantic notions. After marrying a country doctor, and having a daughter, she feels unfulfilled, which propels her toward adulteries and impossible debt. Her death is painful and tragic.
The House of Mirth
, by Edith Wharton, details the rise and fall of Lily Bart, beautiful and charming woman, who is on the hunt for a husband. Of course, the question still remains: Did she really purposefully kill herself, or was it an accident--as she falls asleep, without hope?
In Anna Karenina
, we meet the title character, a young married woman who has an affair and eventually commits suicide by throwing herself under a train. The novel is one of the greatest tragedies of all time.
The Bell Jar
is Sylvia Plath's only novel. It's the autobiographical story of Esther Greenwood, who is brilliant and talented. In this novel, Esther's mental deterioration and breakdown appears somehow sane and rational. This classic has been banned pulled from the shelves for inciting students to suicide.