The Awakening Questions and Answers
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How do Mlle. Reisz and Mme. Ratignolle function in relation to Edna and the novel's view of women's roles?

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Mademoiselle Reisz is an older woman with great artistic attributes who chooses to live her life against the conventions of her generation. Rather than marrying, bearing children, and living a "righteous" life, she follows her artistic passion, forfeits any social expectation bestowed upon her, and leads a carefree and presumably happy life on her own. She is the center of her own world, and she is, as such, quite in tune with who she is as a person. She also serves as Edna's key listener in all matters related to Robert. After all, it is Reisz who has the most contact with him, and Edna depends on her to hear from Robert.

This makes it not surprising that Edna, who is undergoing a deep identity crisis, is drawn to Reisz, seeing in her the woman she (Edna) could potentially become if she, too, had the courage to go against conventions and follow her own passions. While the women are not necessarily too emotionally bonded with one another, Edna could have...

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