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The Awakening | Study Guide

Kate Chopin

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Chapter 2

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 2 from Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening.

The Awakening | Chapter 2 | Summary



On the cottage porch Robert begins to smoke a cigarette as Edna fans herself, and the two chatter "incessantly." They are enjoying themselves, laughing and talking, as sounds from the main house continue in the background. Their conversation includes their personal stories, hopes, and plans: Robert shares his wish to travel to Mexico, and Edna talks about her childhood and family. Edna shares a letter from her sister and then excuses herself to get dressed for dinner, noting that her husband won't be back in time to accompany her. Robert plays with Edna's two children, who are "fond of him."


This chapter offers insights into the friendship between Edna and Robert. They are shown to be very good friends—so close they would seem like a couple if not for Mr. Pontellier. They talk endlessly and without reserve. Robert shares his hopes and plans for the future with Edna. He's even on good terms with her two children. For her part Edna shares personal details about her family. It is easy to see Edna enjoys Robert's company and vice versa.

This chatty, friendly interaction with Robert stands in sharp contrast to Edna's marital relationship. Her interactions with her husband (depicted in Chapter 1) have been short and to the point, using few or even no words if a glance will serve.

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