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The Awakening | Study Guide

Kate Chopin

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Chapter 32

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 32 from Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening.

The Awakening | Chapter 32 | Summary



Mr. Pontellier finds out his wife is moving to the pigeon house, and he does not approve. He thinks people might get the idea that they do not have the financial means to stay in the larger house. To counteract this impression, he engages artisans to make "sumptuous alterations" to the house, and lets it be known the Pontelliers are having this work done. Edna doesn't mind this bit of subterfuge and enjoys living at the pigeon house. She feels that it relieves her of some of the obligations that held her down.

She does go to visit her children, who are still staying with their grandmother. They have been having a lovely time with the farm animals and relatives. She stays for a week, enjoying her children's company. Then she returns to the city alone.


This chapter moves the focus back onto Edna's husband and children. As much as she has shed her attachments to them, they still exist and must be reckoned with. Mr. Pontellier is described doing damage control to protect the Pontellier reputation. Oddly however, he does not seem to consider or care whether Edna is actually having an affair. Instead he is concerned that her behavior could put his business dealings at risk.

Edna's interactions with her children are more sympathetic. The children are well cared for and loved, both by their grandmother and by Edna. Edna visits them, even misses them fleetingly, but she enjoys her independent life. If readers are disconcerted at how easily Edna detaches herself from her children, they would do well to compare her behavior with her husband's.

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