The Awakening | Study Guide

Kate Chopin

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Chapter 26

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 26 from Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening.

The Awakening | Chapter 26 | Summary



Alcée writes Edna a letter of apology, and she replies "she would be glad to have him look in upon her at work whenever he felt the inclination." He soon visits and then continues to visit nearly every day. Their intimacy grows.

Meanwhile Edna occasionally visits Mademoiselle Reisz to listen to her play piano. One particular rainy day Edna goes to the pianist's apartment, has a drink, and announces she plans to move out of her house and a few doors down to a smaller, cozier house, which she will pay for with her own money. She has not yet told her husband, but she "had resolved never again to belong to another than herself." Mademoiselle Reisz gives Edna a letter from Robert, noting that Robert doesn't write directly to Edna because he loves her and is trying to forget her because he can't have her. From this letter Edna learns Robert is coming back, and she becomes excited and pleased. She admits to Mademoiselle Reisz she is in love with Robert. At home later she writes to her husband to tell him of her moving plans.


Alcée Arobin's influence on Edna could be construed as negative because he is actively trying to seduce her and she is falling for it. He pushes her boundaries as far as he can, then apologizes and backtracks when she feels threatened or conflicted. Yet each interaction brings them closer together. It is a careful dance, and one he is good at. Edna's sexual awakening is an important part of her awakening to her true self. It is a part of her that no one else—not Robert or her husband—has been willing or able to awaken. So while in one sense she is a target of an experienced womanizer, she is also a willing participant in their relationship.

Just as Edna is getting her bearings in this new world of sexual attraction, she finds out Robert will soon return. Edna's reaction to this news is pure pleasure and excitement. As she explains to Mademoiselle Reisz, her feelings for Robert are not logical; they occur naturally and unbidden. In contrast Mademoiselle Reisz suggests that if she were to fall in love, she would choose a famous man. This exchange highlights the theme of individuality. Edna has been mentored by Mademoiselle Reisz, but she is not a carbon copy of her.

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