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The Awakening | Chapter 14 | Summary

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Summary

Edna's youngest boy, Etienne, is still awake when she gets back, having refused to go to bed. When Edna receives him from Madame Ratignolle, she rocks him and soothes him to sleep. Léonce Pontellier is at Klein's hotel, and when Edna puts Etienne in bed, Robert is still there. Edna remarks that they have spent the whole day together. After Robert leaves, Edna stays outside, thinking over the day, the summer, and Robert. She sings a little tune Robert had sung in the boat as they crossed the bay.

Analysis

Edna, though attentive to Etienne's needs when she returns, has left her children in the care of others for the entire day. Her family seems to function with the help of Madame Ratignolle, but there is no doubt that Edna's ties to them are taking a back seat to her new sense of self and her feelings for Robert. Some readers might be put off by Edna's lack of attention to her children, but this only echoes Edna's own conflicted feelings about motherhood.

Edna is sensitive to music, as evidenced by her response to Mademoiselle Reisz's piano playing, and in this chapter Edna picks up Robert's little song. In a small way this shows how much influence he is having on her and betrays her feelings for him.

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