In Tornado Warning, why does Waldal ultimately leaves this abusive relationship?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Tornado Warning, Elin Wadel recognizes that her hero turned boyfriend is abusive.  It takes her time to fully grasp this condition, having to endure much in way of abuse and dehumanization before she is able to escape.  Essentially, Elin recognizes that the relationship is abusive and something that she needs to leave.  There is no distinct moment or demarcation where this happens, defining that what happened before was love and what happened at a particular point is abuse.  Rather, it is an understanding or awakening that the younger Elin understands.  The voice of the book is told through the older Elin, as well, one who recognized fully the signs of an abusive relationship through hindsight and a recognizing of what should have been as opposed to what was.  Yet as the seventeen year old, Waldal leaves the relationship by escaping through a combination of her own guile and lucky circumstance.  It is in this need to get out, to understand that her own life is endangered by remaining in the relationship that Waldal ultimately decides to leave her abusive relationship with Derrick.