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The Awakening | Study Guide

Kate Chopin

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Chapter 25

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 25 from Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening.

The Awakening | Chapter 25 | Summary



Edna continues to pursue her art and to have good and bad days. One day she goes to the races with Alcée Arobin and Mrs. Highcamp, a slightly older woman of intelligence who enjoys "the society of young men of fashion." That evening Edna, Alcée, Mrs. Highcamp, and Mrs. Highcamp's daughter and husband all have dinner together, and after the evening's socializing Alcée escorts Edna home. A few days later Alcée and Edna go to the races alone together. The two have a good time. After dinner they hold hands briefly as they say good night, and Alcée kisses her hand. But when Alcée asks her to come to the races again, a conflicted Edna refuses, saying she doesn't like him. He asks her forgiveness, saying, "If you wish me to stay away, I shall do so. If you let me come back, I—oh! you will let me come back?" After Alcée is gone Edna thinks about the touch of Alcée's lips on her hand, of Robert, and of her husband. Then she goes to bed and sleeps deeply.


Alcée Arobin, a man with a reputation for affairs with married women, is drawn to Edna's excitement over the race. He clearly sees something in her that gives him reason to believe she might be open to his advances.

Since Edna is, in this chapter, living life unencumbered by husband and children, it shows Edna's development as an individual apart from these relationships. Even though she has been going off alone, until now her children are still a presence in her daily life. Apart from the relationships that give her the roles of mother and wife, Edna begins to exhibit traits traditionally associated with men. She proves to be intelligent and savvy in her betting, winning a substantial amount of money at the track. She also shows signs of a sexual appetite, as she is unable to get the sensation of Alcée's lips on her hand out of her head. Of course these developments make her uncomfortable because they are in conflict with everything she's been told by society. She is also conflicted because she feels a physical attraction toward Alcée but a romantic one toward Robert.

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