"Grab for too much and it slips away from you."-Creole proverb. Discuss this proverb in relation to Edna.

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vkpteach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Awakening, Edna is a woman reaching for things her society does not believe she should have – freedom, individuality, love, sex, equality. Over the course of the novella, she begins to taste of these things. Despite being reminded repeatedly by her husband that she should be content, even fulfilled, by her role as his wife and mother to their children, she is unable to find that contentment or fulfillment. The implication is that there is something wrong with her because she wants something more . Eventually, she realizes that the “something wrong” is not with her, but with the rules she is expected to live by. She is a prisoner of her age and class.

The Creole proverb is about trying to have something that slips away, or perhaps remains just out of reach. She tries to be happy – but any happiness slips away because she is expected to be happy under false pretences. Once she is "awakened," she can’t go back to sleep. She can love Robert, but he, inexplicably, slips away from her as well.  In the final scene of the story, when Edna is physically free and unrestrained in the ocean, her life, and any possibility for genuine fulfillment as a woman, slips away forever.  

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The Awakening

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