The Awakening

Kate Chopin

Important Quotes Explained

Quotes Important Quotes Explained

Quote 3

“How many years have I slept?” she inquired. “The whole island seems changed. A new race of beings must have sprung up, leaving only you and me as past relics. How many ages ago did Madame Antoine and Tonie die? And when did our people from Grand Isle disappear from the earth?”

These lines, which Edna speaks in Chapter XIII, reflect her desire to be isolated with Robert and, thus, free from the restrictions of the society that surrounds them. At the same time, her fantasy that she and Robert have already been left alone as “past relics” evidences the way that her new self-awareness has separated her—dangerously—from reality. Mentally, Edna is already living in her own isolated, island-like, mythical world. She has not yet fully acknowledged her feelings for Robert, nor does she understand the effect that her love for him will have on her life in the real world. Indeed, the conditions that Edna describes in this daydream are the only ones in which a relationship between Edna and Robert would be possible. As long as they live within society, their love is unable to overcome social convention and tradition.