The Awakening Quotes and Analysis

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#1 You are burnt beyond recognition, he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage. (pg. 48, paragraph 2.)     Your responses to those quotes go on the right side. (100 word minimum)

The first sign of the bubbling conflict is that her husband doesn’t treat her as a true individual. He seems to be distant from Edna as a spouse. L©once now sees his wife as a possession that can easily affect his reputation and place in society. He is a business man who is frequently away from his family, which can strip a relationship of its passion and contentment. Tension easily intensifies when a loved one isn’t present to show expected affection. He has become so distant from Edna that not only is their excitement drained, but his image of her is not influenced by his feelings for her. Instead, it is distorted by comparisons to other women and materialism. 

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#2 They were women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels. (pg. 19, paragraph 1.) Your responses to those quotes go on the right side. (100 word minimum)

Edna is not the ideal mother. She does not show the affection that most mothers in New Orleans show their children. Her children do not necessarily go to her for comfort. However, her sons seem to be stronger from this. Instead of crying after a fall while playing, they will fix themselves up and continue to have fun. Although her sons don’t seem to be particularly bothered, L©once is. He desperately wishes that Edna could be more like Alc©e. Alc©e is considered one of the most perfect women in their town. She’s very caring of her children. She listens to her husband’s opinion. She’s extremely charming and talented. While Edna and Alc©e are close, Edna may distance herself to avoid comparison.

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#3 At a very early period she had apprehended instinctively the dual life–that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions. (pg. 35, paragraph 1.) Your responses to those quotes go on the right side. (100 word minimum)

While Edna tries to appeal to society’s standards, she often feels unhappy and suffocated. She is not mentally for her current role as a mother and wife. For so long, she has been strolling along and settling for the circumstances. She hasn’t been living and her passion lays dormant within. However, as she slowly becomes an individual, she is no longer conforming. In fact, she begins to neglect her old, humdrum life. As she strives for independence, she begins questioning her current situation’s set up.

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#4 Add to this the violent opposition of her father and her sister Margaret to her marriage with a Catholic, and we need seek no further for the motives which led her to accept Monsieur Pontellier. for her husband. (pg. 46, paragraph 2) Your responses to those quotes go on the right side. (100 word minimum)

As most young people do, Edna accepts L©once as her husband, seeing that it upset her father. The second that someone, especially an authority figure, opposes an idea, the urge to rebel ignites. There’s something exhilarating about going against basic morals or commands. It allows one to feel completely free and a bit euphoric. This same feeling could have influenced her to open a physical affair with Alc©e. He satisfies her animalistic urges. It is later explained that he enjoys pursuing married women. The feeling is dangerous and risky, but it’s enough to make the consequences worth it. The rebellious urge helps eradicate the bore of standards.

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#5 several persons informed her simultaneously that Robert was going to Mexico. She laid her spoon down and looked about her bewildered. He had been with her, reading to her all the morning, and had never even mentioned such a place as Mexico. (pg. 104, paragraph 2) Your responses to those quotes go on the right side. (100 word minimum)

Robert and Edna have gotten more intimate and their relationship has become complicated. There is no doubt that their feelings for one another causes tension between them. However, they cannot act on impulse. Infidelity is very shameful, and it will not only ruin their reputations, but L©once’s as well. Robert’s sudden departure crushes Edna. Robert seems to know this as he is noticeably uneasy and quiet. That night, he strains himself to be distant as he leaves her. As Edna was blatantly honest about how she felt, he started to truly explain his reason for leaving. He abruptly stops, which shows that he is not fond of professing his love for another man’s wife.

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#6 Does he write to you? Never a line. Does he send you a message? Never a word. It is because he loves you, poor fool, and is trying to forget you, since you are not free to listen to him or to belong to him.” (pg. 209, paragraph 5.) Your responses to those quotes go on the right side. (100-word minimum)

Though Robert promised Edna he would write her, he never does. Edna frequently visits Mademoiselle Reisz, who allows Edna to read the letters she receives. When Edna hears that Robert is coming back from Mexico, she searches for his reason, hoping it’s for her. Reisz explains to Edna that Robert is trying to diminish his love for her. He believes it is impossible for him to pursue her while she belongs to L©once. Robert, like most people in society at the time, view women as the property of their husbands (if they are married). Since he cannot let this go, he feels he must force himself to stop loving Edna. 

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#7 “I’m jealous of your thoughts tonight. They’re making you a little kinder than usual; but some way I feel as if they were wandering, as if they were not here with me.” (pg. 217, paragraph 6.) Your responses to those quotes go on the right side. (100-word minimum)

Alc©e, Edna’s physical affair, is a man who is very flirtatious and pursues married women. However, Edna does not fit his desperate, lonely, housewife stereotype. Her urge to be independent allows her to stay free. When Edna hears of Robert’s soon arrival, she is elated and it’s quite noticeable. It’s the happiest she has been in a while. Alc©e suspects that he is not the reason for this sudden burst of joy. He expects her to be infatuated with him, as many other women in the past. Instead, he is seemingly becoming the desperate one in this affair. 

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#8 “You have tried to do too much in the past few days. The dinner was the last straw; you might have dispensed with it.” (pg. 241, paragraph 4.) Your responses to those quotes go on the right side. (100 word minimum)

At her dinner, celebrating her move, she snaps at one of the guests that sings. She has been wearing herself out with the move and the adjustment to the lifestyle she is trying to have. Many say that artists tend to be very lonely. Edna is increasingly isolating herself from her friends and family, so she can go through these awakenings. She does not desire to become anyone’s possession, including Robert’s. As of right now, it seems that he is never going to pursue her. This means that Edna truly will be alone. Edna is struggling with these feelings along with the events happening outside. She is mentally and physically exhausted.

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#9 So he had come back because the Mexicans were not congenial; because business was as profitable here as there; because of any reason, and not because he cared to be near her. (pg. 255, paragraph 3.)         Your responses to those quotes go on the right side. (100-word minimum)

When Robert explains why he has returned from Mexico, Edna is hurt. He did not come back for her. If business was more profitable there, he would have never returned. He would continue to ignore his promise to write her. It must pain her deeply that she didn’t influence his return. He could have very well stayed in Mexico. While Edna was so deeply missing Robert, his response gives her the impression that she hasn’t crossed his mind. She had hoped that Robert felt the same as she did. But Robert is still not willing to deal with his confliction.

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#10 “You have been a very, very foolish boy, wasting your time dreaming of impossible things when you speak of Mr. Pontellier setting me free! I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier’s possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose. If he were to say, ‘Here, Robert, take her and be happy; she is yours,’ I should laugh at you both.” (pg. 282, paragraph 3.) Your responses to those quotes go on the right side. (100 word minimum)

Robert has this societal view of wives being property to their husbands. Edna despises this perspective, one of the many factors driving her need for independence. She has become exhausted trying liberate herself and she will not be possessed by another. She is now in control of her feelings and actions. Even though Edna loves Robert, she will not allow herself to be owned by him. The idea of L©once passing her to Robert is highly degrading. She is appalled that he could even stomach it, let alone allow it to conflict his love for her. However, Robert is still torn inside. He leaves, and Edna is left alone. Though being independent could grow lonely, it’s much better. To have an awakening cause so much distress and change only to return to the same lifestyle is truly a waste.

For page and paragraph references:  Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Internet Archive, Chicago, New York, H. S. Stone & Company, 1 Jan. 1899, https://archive.org/details/awakeningthe00choprich

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The Awakening Quotes and Analysis. (2019, Oct 30). Retrieved January 28, 2023 , from
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