The Awakening (Chapter 7)

The Awakening (Chapter 7) - household in which sensuality...

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Ivan Ivanov The Awakening (Chapter 7) The first paragraph of this chapter is very significant: it describes Edna as outwardly conforming, yet inwardly questioning. Over the course of the novel, Edna will reject this specific outlook and will want to act only in ways that she considers consistent with her personality. On an island where all the husbands are off working in the city, Edna and Madame Ratignolle's relationship indicates the closeness of female-female relationships. Edna is attracted to her friend's beautiful appearance; their ability to communicate and understand each other is described not as sympathy, but rather as love; and their interaction in this passage is highly eroticized. Edna's ability to share her feelings and thoughts with Adele highlights her inability to do so with her husband or with anyone else. Her husband fails to emotionally connect with her, but also, Edna has been raised in a Presbyterian
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Unformatted text preview: household in which sensuality and depth of emotion are not generally revealed. Possibly, Edna is able to talk with Madame Ratignolle only because her friend, as the incarnation of femininity and motherhood, knows how to respond to others and minister to their emotional needs. In any case, for the first time Edna shares her innermost thoughts with another person and dwells for some time on the image of her walking through an enormous field in Kentucky. This image is significant because it links her present confusion and directionlessness with the feelings she had as a young, innocent child. Edna's awakening is a rebirth and a return to innocence, not a descent into moral depravity. Her future actions are thus not the actions of a cynical, jaded woman, but of an excited person seeing things clearly for the first time....
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