In detail, explain how the flashbacks to Edna's past function. Be sure to consider her father and her childhood.

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The flashbacks reveal that Edna's dissatisfaction with society's demand that women lead docile, quiet lives is not a sudden impulse, but rather a deeply ingrained element of her character from childhood. She describes herself as a child who was ruled by impulse and put off by a dour upbringing. Her father was a cold man who drank too much. Her childhood, Protestant religion is described as depressing.

The reader learns from the flashbacks that Leonce, while never the love of Edna's life, was her way out of a sad existence with her family. Leonce's devotion and ardor touched Edna. Edna even likes that Leonce is a Catholic, not because she is drawn to Catholicism but because the very act of marrying a Catholic angers her family. Though Leonce is an ordinary, respectable man of the period, Edna's agreeing to marry him was intended to be transgressive in the context of her life.

These flashbacks emphasize how Edna's ultimate "awakening" is something she was headed for since the beginning of...

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