Compare Edna's emotional and romantic relationships with another character from literature.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that a really interesting comparison can take place between Edna and Emma Bovary.  Chopin and Flaubert create two distinct women with marked views concerning emotional relationships.  Both characters are fundamentally dissatisfied with their ways of life.  Emma finds a certain amount of emptiness in life with Charles and in marriage, in general. Edna recognizes that there too is "something more" than in the socially mandated pursuits in which she has lived for so long.  There are some notions of divergence within this point.  Emma believes that she can find some dream that will supplant her boredom.  Her desire to live life as she has read in Romantic novels and through a fulfillment of someone else's construction of what her life should be is where Emma goes to pursue a path out of the boredom in which she lives.  She wonders “just what was meant, in real life, by the words felicity, passion and intoxication, which had seemed so beautiful.”  I sense that Edna is a bit different in this regard.  Edna is not in love with a pursuit of Romanticism, and thus unhappy.  I think that Edna legitimately recognizes that something inside her has "awakened" and she understands that this has to be activated.  Edna's love of swimming, rejection of social attitudes, development of painting, and even moving out are all examples of how she acts upon her freedom not in accordance to something else, but rather in accordance to the spiritual growth that is within her.  I think that this becomes a significant difference between both.