The Awakening | Study Guide

Kate Chopin

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The Awakening | Chapter 13 | Summary



Edna feels lightheaded during the church service and goes outside to get some fresh air. Robert follows her, concerned, and takes her to Madame Antoine's to rest. At the lady's small home Edna naps in the bed while Robert smokes outside and Madame Antoine cooks. When Edna wakes she eats some food and joins Robert outside. Madame Antoine and her son are at church for Vespers, and the others from Grand Isle have gone back, so she and Robert spend some time alone until Madame Antoine comes back. After the sun sets Madame Antoine tells them stories; later Robert and Edna travel back to Grand Isle in a boat.


Edna feels the effects of her short, restless night's sleep as she attends mass. Her fatigue is likely exacerbated by the standing, kneeling, and singing that are part of the liturgy. While there are physical reasons for her distress, they also have a greater meaning in the context of the story. Staying up most of the night, leaving church, and then napping all day in someone else's bed are unconventional actions. Missing meals, or eating them at odd times, are unconventional actions. They defy social expectations as well as the demands of a conventional schedule. For the first time Edna is behaving in response to her body rather than reacting to social convention. This chapter, then, continues to show that Edna's inner emotions and thoughts are beginning to change her outward actions.

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