Where can I locate indications in The Awakening that showcase Edna’s internal conflicts?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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One of the initial signs of Edna's turmoils occurs in Chapter III, when Leonce first expresses his frustration regarding Edna's treatment of their children. Leonce senses a difference between Edna and the other women, feeling that his wife does not have the maternal instinct that seems to emanate from the Creole women whom he is used to living with. Although Edna does not understand where Leonce's frustration stems from, this particular event is what leads her to slowly realize that he is correct; her maternal instincts are nowhere as intense as women whom she had met before. Although all of these discoveries have not yet "hit" Edna, the fact that she goes outside to the porch to cry intensely denotes that she is aware that something within her does not connect with the rest of the society with which she interacts.

Another sign of her tribulations occurs in chapter XVII, when she has another argument with Leonce. This argument is different because, for the first time, she realizes how much she hates being Leonce's wife. Therefore, she discharges her anger against her wedding ring. This is indicative of the first signs of discovering the level of dissatisfaction in her marriage.

...taking off her wedding ring, flung it upon the carpet. When she saw it lying there, she stamped her heel upon it, striving to crush it. But her small boot heel did not make an indenture, not a mark upon the little glittering circlet.

The wedding ring is as indestructible as the expectations bestowed upon her by society; the need to be a wife and mother of excellence. Understanding that she is simply not cut to be like that, Edna begins her journey of self-discovery. Her journey will end with her life.


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