The narrator of The Awakening is an omniscient observer, narrating in the third person and describing all the characters’ actions and conversations from a distance. They and we have access to certain thoughts from all the characters, which helps us perceive their motives and their feelings.

As a result, the reader must often piece together the reasons for characters’ reactions, forcing them to actively draw meaning from the story. For example, at the end of Edna’s party in Chapter 30, the narrator describes the guests all finding excuses to leave after Edna’s outburst at Victor singing. The abrupt nature of their departure implies that they felt uncomfortable by Edna’s sudden upset, but the narrator does not outright say so. However, the narrator will often lay out the facts of a situation, such as in Chapter 7 when they explain the circumstances that led Edna to marry Léonce in the first place, offering insight into potential reasons for why Edna may behave the way she does without providing direct answers. This fairly distant point of view enhances Chopin’s goal to capture life as it is, portraying characters’ behavior realistically without overt editorializing.

Read more about distant third-person omniscient point of view in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.