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The Awakening | Chapter 29 | Summary

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Summary

Edna sets in motion her plan to move to the little house, and Alcée finds her on a stepladder, unhooking a picture from the wall. He helps with the unhooking and with taking down curtains, and afterward they chat about the grand dinner she is planning as a sort of farewell to the old house. He calls the dinner her "coup d'etat." He lingers a little while, trying to see Edna alone, but she says the next time he can see her is at the dinner.

Analysis

Recovering a little from her emotionally confusing experiences with Alcée, Edna throws herself thoroughly into preparations to move to the "pigeon house." Though she allows Alcée to assist in this moving effort, she keeps him at an emotional and physical distance. She also dictates the time and place where he can next see her, establishing her control over the terms of their relationship. Alcée, presumably accustomed to being in charge of his affairs, is unsure how to handle this.

Edna's move from the large house to her small pigeon house is fraught with symbolism. The big house represents her dependence on her husband and her duty to be the socially acceptable wife and mother. The smaller house represents freedom from these duties and financial independence. However, the pigeon house is smaller and recalls the caged birds of the novel's opening scene. This conflicting imagery suggests that in achieving one kind of freedom, Edna subjects herself to a different set of restrictions.

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