The Awakening | Study Guide

Kate Chopin

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Chapter 35

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 35 from Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening.

The Awakening | Chapter 35 | Summary

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Summary

In the morning Edna thinks about how to overcome the awkwardness she felt with Robert and allow for the "excessive joy" she anticipates. At breakfast she reads a childish letter from her son Raoul and a businesslike one from her husband. She finds a note from Alcée as well, telling her of his devotion. She answers her child's letter lovingly and her husband's with "friendly evasiveness." But to Edna's disappointment, Robert does not come to see her. She goes for a drive with Alcée and has dinner with him.

Analysis

Edna actively plans to be with Robert, despite the fact that part of his awkwardness with her is that he knows there is no practical way for them to be together. He sees, perhaps, the elephant in the room that she is choosing to ignore: society would shun them. There are few if any paths for them to become a couple. Edna continues to show Alcée a bare minimum of attention, and this only because Robert does not reenter her life as she'd hoped. As her optimistic expectation of "excessive joy" with Robert dwindles, she becomes hopeless.

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