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Free Study Guide-The Awakening by Kate Chopin-Free Online Booknotes
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Chapters XIII - XVI

Summary

Edna feels unwell during the church service, and so she gets up and stumbles outside for air. Robert follows, insisting that he take her to Madame Antoine's to rest. He is worried about her.

They walk, and Edna finds the island pleasantly drowsy. They ask a boy for water. Madame Antoine, who lives on the other side of the village, is fat and clumsy and speaks no English but is eager to help Edna rest comfortably. The place is clean, and Edna is shown to a big, snow-white bed. While she undresses, and then luxuriates in her country bed, Madame Antoine goes on with her cooking and Robert steps outside to smoke. Edna falls asleep. At first she hears activity--Madame Antoine, the chickens, Robert and Madame Antoine's son, Tonie. She does not understand French very well, and she soon falls completely asleep.

When she wakes, time has gone by. Robert is reading outside in the shade. Edna notices in the mirror that she looks rested, and after washing up she finds some bread and wine left for her in the little kitchen. She drinks, eats, and goes out to Robert. They joke that she has slept a hundred years.

Everyone else went back hours ago, but they did not want to wake her. Robert thinks that Léonce will not worry because Edna is with him. They go inside to eat a broiled chicken that Robert has procured and cooked. They decide to stay until sundown. Madame Antoine returns, and they sit together while Madame Antoine tells them stories. When the two finally leave to go back to Grand Isle in Tonie's boat, the shadows have turned to phantom ships.

When Edna returns, Madame Ratignolle presents her with her youngest child, Etienne, who has been fussy and refuses to go to sleep. Madame Ratignolle has done what she could, but the child is unhappy. Edna takes him in her arms in the rocking chair and tries to coo him to sleep. It is only nine o'clock. Madame Ratignolle says that Mr. Pontellier was worried at first about Edna, but Mr. Farival assured him that she only needed some sleep. Léonce went to Klein's Hotel and is not back yet. Adèle herself is suffering from the heat, and leaves Edna because she must go back to Monsieur Ratignolle, who hates to be alone. Robert helps Edna put the boy to bed. When Robert says goodnight, she remarks that they have been together the whole day. He walks away towards the gulf.


Not wanting to join any of the others, she waits for her husband and thinks about her summer and how significant it has been: she is different now. Yet, she does not even suspect all the changes that have taken place.

Edna is sorry that Robert has left her alone. She remembers a little song he sung her while they crossed the water, and she sings a line to herself, "Si tu savais" (if you only knew).

A few days later, as she arrives for dinner in the main house, the assembled company is in an uproar because it appears that Robert is leaving for Mexico. Edna is stunned. He read to her that very morning and said nothing, although that afternoon she was surprised not to see him. Bewildered, she glances at Robert across the table; he smiles at her uneasily. She asks everyone when he is going, and they say, "Tonight!" This is impossible for Edna. Robert defends himself, saying he was planning to go to Mexico all along.

He says he has a chance to take a boat to New Orleans if he leaves tonight. He explains more to Edna than to anyone else. He is questioned by Monsieur Farival. Madame Ratignolle wants Robert to be careful, because she considers Mexicans treacherous. Victor tells a funny story about a Mexican girl to Monsieur Farival, who laughs. Edna thinks they have all gone mad. Edna asks what time he is leaving, and when Robert says ten, she leaves the table and goes to her room.

She grumbles and straightens the room. She changes her gown and helps the nurse put the boys to bed. She sends the nurse away and tries to calm the boys down with a story, but it only excites them, and she leaves. The little black girl comes to say that Madame Lebrun would like Edna to join them until Robert goes away. She refuses, but then changes her mind and her clothes several times. Madame Ratignolle comes to see what is wrong, and Edna says that the confusion at the dinner table must have upset her; she hates surprises. She is angry with Robert. Adèle understands, but thinks Edna must come to the main house for the sake of appearances. But Edna sends her away.

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