The Awakening

Kate Chopin

Important Quotes Explained

Quotes Important Quotes Explained

Quote 5

“The years that are gone seem like dreams—if one might go on sleeping and dreaming—but to wake up and find—oh! well! Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life.”

This quotation, drawn from a conversation Edna has with Doctor Mandelet in Chapter XXXVIII, may be considered the overarching message, or “moral,” of The Awakening. Even though Edna’s awakening leads her to suffer from the wisdom and self-awareness it affords her, the year of joy and understanding that accompanies this suffering is worth more to Edna than a lifetime of the semi-conscious submission that defined her former existence. According to Edna, to live with self-awareness, possessed and controlled only by one’s own soul, offers an existence far richer than a life lived according to the restricting “illusions” that are imposed by the expectations of others.