Reader Response to "The Awakening"

Essay by roxy629 May 2006

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This story was really intriguing to me. The struggle of Edna to be herself and not what others thought she should be really related to me. The social norms of women today are not really that different, except we can have jobs as long as it doesn't compromise "the family". I have always tried to be true to myself and never just do what people wanted me to.

On Grand Isle, her relations with Adele Ratignolle and Robert Lebrun were more intense within the story than her relations with Leonce or their children. In the beginning Adele was what Edna wished she could be, but knew she could never be. AR was very beautiful and had an adoring husband and adored her children. It seemed that without them she would cease to exist. At the end , when Edna leaves Adele's side she begins to feel sad that Adele will never experience "life's delirium" .

Does this mean that Edna thinks that Adele is not whole because she's never experienced the inner struggle to find freedom , that she is not sane if she doesn't question the foundation that her life is based?

Edna's desperation to be one within herself and not always to be torn becomes relevant when she leaves the family house and moves into the "pigeon house". This seems to separate "real" self and the illusion of herself in the "real" world. Her relationship with Arobin(she knew people would talk) seemed to isolate her more just as the not returning visits to her callers did.

When Robert comes back into her life she feels somewhat together and anew(reborn). When they professed their love to each other, she is finally free. After she comes back from Adele's, and finds the note of Robert's "I love you. Good-by...