The Awakening | Study Guide

Kate Chopin

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The Awakening | Chapter 37 | Summary



Madame Ratignolle is in the midst of labor when Edna gets to her house. "Between agonizing moments," Edna talks with Madame Ratignolle. Edna uncomfortably recalls her own experience of childbirth. After the birth Madame Ratignolle implores Edna to "think of the children, Edna. Oh think of the children!" Edna leaves the house "stunned and speechless with emotion" after the child is born.


This chapter shows Edna's deep discomfort with motherhood. The birth is "agonizing," and Edna is haunted throughout it by her hazy memories of her own childbirth experiences. She recalls feeling disconnected from her own newborns. Even though this feeling is heightened due to the pain relief she was given for the births, Edna's lack of a lasting affection for her children is part of her character. She is not a "mother-woman."

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