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    LIT 4386 British and American Literature by Women

Class 17

Reading Assignment:

    Chopin, The Awakening (1011--1101) cont.
    Post #7 Group A

    Class Objectives:

  • To continue discussion through almost the ending
  • continue discussion of female role models in the novel
  • To analyze Edna's feelings for Arobin versus Robert

Notes and Discussion Questions:

1. Artist or Mother-woman

We'll pick up with a discussion of the two role models for Edna.

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?

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?

2. Sex

p. 1072 -- Arobin's kiss
What does it mean that Alcee "was absolutely nothing to her"? What happens when he kisses her? Why does he have the effect on her that he does?

Examine the discussion between Arobin and Edna on p. 1076. What does Mlle. Reisz's image of the "bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice" mean? Why does she apply this image to Edna? How does she react?

p. 1076-77 -- sex
How does the narrative describe Edna's adultery? Who is she thinking of and how? What is the understanding that she comes to?

Why does Edna throw a dinner party before leaving her house? What is it like? What does it symbolize? Is it successful?

Why does she force Victor to stop singing?

when does Robert arrive back in New Orleans? How do they meet? How does Edna react?

p. 1091 -- conflict between Arobin and Robert
How does Robert react to Arobin's picture at Edna's pigeon house? Why?

p. 1092 -- sex with Arobin
What does it mean that "It was getting to be more than a passing whim with Arobin to see her and be with her. He had detected the latent sensuality which unfolded under his delicate sense of her nature's requirements like a torpid, torrid, sensitive bloom"? (1092).

How does she respond to Arobin's continued attentions? Why?

3. Arobin versus Robert

What happens when she meets Robert accidentally a second time? If time, discuss the different role these two men play in Edna's story. How are they different? Which is more significant? Why?