The Awakening takes place in late nineteenth century Louisiana. The action of the first half of the novel centers on Grand Isle, Louisiana, an island fifty miles south of New Orleans. As portrayed in the novel, Grand Isle was a popular vacation destination for upper class Louisiana society throughout the 1880s because of its beautiful setting in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf seaside becomes a place where Edna can explore her autonomy and desires. Whenever Edna wants to escape her husband, she goes to the beachfront. The second half of the novel takes place in New Orleans at the center of upper class French Creole society. New Orleans hems Edna in both physically through its buildings and socially through its rules. Mr. Pontellier and Edna live in an opulent mansion to better show off Mr. Pontellier’s wealth. This mansion functions as a kind of gilded cage, symbolic of Edna’s position as another one of his possessions. Edna’s move to the tiny pigeon house shows how little space she can carve out for herself. Regardless of how one reads Edna’s suicide, she returns to Grand Isle and the sea because it offers an escape from New Orleans society.