"At a very early period she had apprehended instinctively the dual life-that outward." What does this suggest about Edna's inner struggle?
The question refers to the whole sentence in chapter 7 of The Awakening, but I could only type some of it.
In chapter VII of The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, we find Edna Pontellier gazing at the ocean, realizing that she has always been "different." By different it is meant that she has never had the need nor the want to comply with every social expectation bestowed upon women of a certain class, namely, getting married, having children, and live a life of straight up virtue.
Contrastingly, Edna has always leaned towards the unusual. An example of this is her friendship with Adele. Adele is a foil of Edna's not only physically, but metaphysically as well. Adele is described as "matronly" and stout, while Edna is upright and straight. Adele is artistic and free-spirited, while Edna is analytical and emotionally repressed.
It is because of this contrast that Edna feels free to confess her analysis of herself to Adele: She basically stated to her how the expectations that women are supposed to meet in order to be considered virtuous are, for Edna, nothing but limitations.
This is the first time Edna comes face to face with this reality: She had lived a life that meant really nothing to her real self. She had been struggling with the "real" Edna and making herself act like the "fake" Edna. This is the meaning of the statement that she was living
the outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions.
The outward existence, the fake Edna, just takes in whatever comes her way and complies with social rules. The inward life, "the real" Edna, is the one coming out and awakening to the reality of its existence.