perceived that her will had blazed up, stubborn and resistant. She
could not at that moment have done other than denied and resisted.
She wondered if her husband had ever spoken to her like that before,
and if she had submitted to his command. Of course she had; she
remembered that she had. But she could not realize why or how she
should have yielded, feeling as she then did.
This passage is from Chapter XI of the
novel. Edna has just returned from her catalytic first swim and
is lying in the porch hammock, refusing her husband’s entreaties
to come inside to bed. For the first time in her life, Edna does
not, out of habit, yield to Léonce’s command. Rather, she speaks
against his control and does as she wishes. The narrator highlights
the fact that, as Edna’s thoughts and emotions begin to change,
she also becomes more self-aware and begins to analyze her former
behavior. Her distance from her former self is emphasized by her
inability to reconnect to her former mindset; although Edna remembers
having submitted to her husband’s authority in the past, she cannot
re-create the logic that would have led her to do such a thing,
and her own past behavior seems alien and incomprehensible.