The Awakening

Kate Chopin

Important Quotes Explained

Quotes Important Quotes Explained
2. She 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.