What are some good examples and quotes to show the conflict in The Awakening by Kate Chopin?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A great section of this brilliant novel to look at in regards to conflict and the way that conflict emerges as a result of Edna's awakening comes in Chapter 11, which is when Edna asserts her will against her husband's will for the first time in her life. Let us remember that Edna has just returned at night after her life-changing first swim, and is lying in the hammock on her porch, ignoring her husband and refusing his request that she come in. Note how this is described:

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 quote is particularly significant because it represents the first openly voiced example of external conflict between Edna and society and the subservient roles of mother and wife it has placed her in. As Edna becomes more self-aware, she not only critically thinks about her former behaviour and subservience, but now, after her awakening, finds that she is able to assert her will. In addition, note the way that she has changed so much that she is unable to understand why she would have submitted to her husband's will in the first place.


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