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LIT 4386 British and American Literature
by Women

Class 15

Reading Assignment:

    Chopin, The Awakening (1011--1101) cont.
    POST #7 Group B

    Class Objectives:

  • To continue discussion through chapter 21 or page 1061
  • analyze the role of female role models in the novel
  • To discuss ways in which Edna chooses to escape

Notes and Discussion Questions:

1. Edna's state of mind

We'll pick up with a discussion of Edna's state of mind after her swim, while she lay in the hammock (1035) all night.

What is Edna's state of mind at this point?

Notice that her next move in the morning is to fly - to escape. She "naturally" calls Robert. How well does Edna understand herself at this point?

1038: boat
1041-42: Cheniere
What happens on the island of Cheniere? How would you describe the relationship between Edna and Robert? Is it improper? Why or why not? What do they find in one another? What does her appetite signify? What does the language of "sleeping for 100 years" signify?

1043: self-discovery
Robert announces his immediate departure for Mexico. How does Edna react?

1047 Rob/ infatuation
1049 passage on sacrifice for children
What do the two reflections have in common? Why does her thought of making Leonce talk about Robert lead to her inability to sacrifice herself for her children? What does Edna mean?

2. Returning to town

When the summer ends, the Pontellierís return to their "very charming home on Esplanade Street" (1050).
How does the change in scene and environment affect Edna?

1052 wedding ring
What is happening in this passage? How does Edna feel? Why does she take off the wedding ring and stamp on it? What does it represent? What does it mean that she cannot make an indent?

How does she change? See page 1056-57

How does Leonce react?

1056 her painting
Why does she go to Mlle Reisz?

1061 visit Mlle. Reisz
What does she mean by the soul that dares and defies? What does it take to be an artist? Does Edna have what it takes?

3. Discuss female role models

Return to the passage on page 1055 and compare Edna's reaction to the Mme. Ratignolle with her reaction to Mlle Reisz. What is the significance of her visits to these two women? How does she respond to each? Where does that leave her?