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Free Study Guide-The Awakening by Kate Chopin-Free Online Booknotes
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Chapters XXXIII-XXXIX

Summary (continued)

Edna is uneasy. It all looks too painful and barbarous to her. She can hardly remember when she went through this with her children; she was put under with chloroform and later awoke to a bundle of new life. She wishes she had not come. She finds herself revolting against nature, and when it is all over, Adele says to her in parting: "Think of the children, Edna! . . . Remember them!"

Edna is dazed when she goes out in the open air. She refuses to drive home with Doctor Mandelet, so he walks with her. The air is mild, and Edna's thoughts fly ahead of her, so that she must strive to overtake them. The doctor says that she should not have been called to Adèle's. It was cruel: he thinks that Edna is too impressionable in her current mental state. But Edna says that one must think of the children, and the sooner the better. When he asks, she says that she is not going abroad. She wants to be alone. Her thoughts are quickly becoming incoherent.

The doctor says that "youth is given up to illusions" and implies that people sometimes make the wrong choices in order to serve nature and to insure the continuation of the race. But nature takes no account of the social costs which people feel obliged to maintain. Edna agrees that one must wake up, rather than remain a slave to such illusions. The doctor notes that Edna seems to be in trouble. He encourages her to come to his office for a consultation. There are few who could understand as he would. She says she does not feel moved to speak. She appreciates his concern, but she wants to be left alone, even though that desire undermines the welfare of her children. She quickly excuses herself and bids him good night. He says he does not blame her, but if she will come to see him, they will talk of "things (she has) never dreamt of talking about before." He claims it will help them both.

She sits on the steps of her house after the doctor leaves. As the emotions of the past few hours fall away, she remembers how Robert's presence affected her and how wonderful it was to possess a loved one. When she remembers that he is waiting for her, she hopes she can wake him with her kisses. She will think of the children tomorrow.


She searches the house, but Robert is not there. He has left a note, saying that he loves her, and bidding her good-bye forever--also because he loves her. She feels faint. She stretches out on the sofa and stays there, awake, all night.

Back at Grand Isle, Victor is doing some repair work, with Mariequita helping him. They talk of Mrs. Pontellier's dinner party. Victor makes it sound like the most sumptuous evening imaginable, with Edna as an incomparable queen. Mariequita thinks Victor is in love with Edna, and she turns sullen and cries. She says that she could easily go off with a married man herself.

As they talk, Edna comes around the corner. The two youngsters are astonished, as if she were an apparition. But she is tired and looks travel-worn. She has come for a vacation. Victor points out that they are not ready for visitors, but he will find something for her, even if he has to give her his own room. She says that anything will do. Mariequita at first suspects a lovers' meeting between Edna and Victor, but Victor is so astonished at Mrs. Pontellier's arrival that she gives up the idea. She is interested in this vastly popular woman, Edna.

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