In Chopin's The Awakening, on several occasions at Grand Isle, Edna spots the two lovers, followed by the woman in black. What role do these minor characters play—what is their connection to Edna?

Expert Answers info

booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2003

write4,119 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In Chopin's The Awakening, the two lovers, as well as the woman in black, may provide symbolism and foreshadowing. (It is perhaps important to note that Chopin's stories present women who defy the social norm of the time, and were considered by some to be scandalous. This story ultimately ended Chopin's career as a writer.)

There is no doubt that Edna has reached a point where she is growing unhappy with a role in life that she does not feel she can identify with—wife to Léonce, and mother—and her husband sees this and (naturally) disapproves:

He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother's place to look after children, whose on earth was it?

This would, in part, explain her affair with Alcée Arobin. He is a player ("womanizer"): a man who has no problem becoming involved with a married woman—with any woman. It is a fling for both, for Edna would not leave her husband for Alcée, any more than he would offer her marriage....

(The entire section contains 610 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial