The Awaking Essay, Research Paper
The Character List:
Edna is one of the main characters. She goes on a path of emotional, intellectual and
sexual awakening after spending a very pleasant summer with Robert Lebrun
Edna?s husband Leone spend most of the time away from home on business. He is
obsessed with making money and gaing expensive possessions for his home. He is mild and
gentle and tolerant of Edna.
Raoul and Etienne Pontellier-
Edna and Leonce?s children , they don?t hang on their mother nor their nurse. The are
very self sufficient and when leonce goes to new York for a extended time they visit there
Edna?s father , many years ago he gambled away the Family farm in Kentucky, now he is
old and drinks toddies during the day
Madame Lebrun- Robert?s mother she owns the cottage in Grande Isle that the New
Orleans city folk like to rent out for the summer
Robert?s younger brother , Madame?s Lebrun?s favorite son Victor is spoiled and
obnoxious, but is good looking
Alcee Arobin is a fashionable young man He attaches himself to Edna and they have and
A young flirt , he attaches himself to Edna during the summer he tries to distance himself
by going to Vera Cruz
Madame Ratignolle has many children she is currently pregnant and makes Edna promise
that she will be there when she goes into labor.
Mademoiselle Reisz is a pianist and is very ugly and irritable she lives alone and Edna
come to vist her to listen to her play and read letter sent that Robert sends.
The First half of the novel takes place in Grand Isle, It is an island off the coast of
Louisiana. During the summer it is inhabited but the Creole Families from New Orleans who go
there to escape from the heat and relax by the ocean.
During the week women and children stay on the island while the men return to the city of
During the summer Edna meets a young man named Robert Lebrun. His mother rents of
the cottages on the island. The two spend almost their entire time together and Edna greatly
enjoys his company. Especially since her husband generally spends all his time with work.
Edna starts to experience a change in her self the more she is around Robert. She begins to
develop a sense of herself as a whole person. She realized her want and her desires. She is no
longer content being a simple wife and mother.
During her moments of self discovery Edna learns to swim in the ocean. She and Robert
also spend allot of time in and near the ocean. One day they take a spontaneous trip in a boat to
another island. There Edna has a metaphorical rebirth of her self when she falls asleep for a few
Robert Realizes the closeness between him and Edna and decides to go on a business trip
to Vera Cruz with short notice. This causes Edna to become depressed after he leaves. She
befriends Madame Ratigonolle a pregnant woman. Also Mademoisell Reisz is a unmarried old
woman who can make Edna weep by playing the piano.
When Edna and her family return to the city , her husband bussniess himself in his work
and making money. he likes to purchase extravagant possessions for his home. Edna upon return
goes back to her usual life style. but soon becomes dissatisfied and takes up painting. She begins
to act in a uncharacteristic manner according to her husband. Leonce confused goes to the family
doctor and asks for advice. He is told to leave her alone .The Doctor suspects that she is in love
with another man but doesn?t discuss that issue with him.
Edna is decides to do what she wants. Even though he husband and society disapprove.
Edna constantly thinks about Robert and this makes her happy on some days and sad on others.
When she finds out that Robert is writing to Mademoiselle Reisz . She goes and vists her to her
listen to her play and read the letters.
The Colonel ( Edna?s father) comes to visit for awhile. When he come Edna devotes all
her energy to him even though they are not close. When he leaves they leave on a set of bad
terms. This causes Edna not to attend to her sisters wedding in Kentucky. After her father leaves
so does her husband children. Leonce goes on a extended business trip in New York. The children
are sent to the grandmothers in the country.
Edna is left alone and begins to enjoy he new life alone. She eats in solitary and vists her
friends. She also paints a little. Edna begins to gamble at the race track and her friendship with
the charming young man Alcee Arobin begins to become sexual/
With her painting earnings and her wings from gambling Edna decide to move out of her
house and mover around the corner to a ? pigeon house?. She wants to be independent and
doesn?t want her husband to have any claim on her. She hears that Robert is moving to New
Orleans and finally admits she is in love with him.
Later that day for the first time Edna sleeps with Arobin. She has many emotion but no
shame. A few days later she throws a party for her birthday and moving out. Edna continues her
affair with Arobin but she doesn?t form any real attachment to him.
One day when Edna vists Mademoiselle Reisz apartment she meets Robert and the
meetings is strange and awkward later that day the two share a passionate kiss and he asks her to
marry him. Before she is able to answer she must leave and attend Madame Ratignolle who is in
labor. Robert claims he will wait and when she returns he is gone. When Edna returns to Grande
Isle she strips naked and swims into the ocean with great passion. She swims out as far as her
limbs will carry her until she reaches exhaustion. Memories of her childhood flash before her eyes
and she slowly drowns. She does this to detach herself from her children and their claim to her.
What I have learned:
What I have learned is that no matter how strong you thing love is there always is a backside and
if you finally find yourself you don?t need anything else
Its about a woman who finds her freedom in a supressed enviorment