The Awakening Questions and Answers
In The Awakening, when Edna finally learns to swim she swims out alone far from the other people. How does this event change her and what are some examples of this change?
Throughout the novel, Edna feels caught between the way others see her and the way she sees herself. Identify several moments in which this struggle is apparent, and explain how the text portrays Edna's growing awareness of these contradicting views. What is the significance of this perceived split between the "outer Edna" and the "inner Edna"?
What is Edna's response to the music of Mademoiselle Reisz in The Awakening? How is this related to the "awakening" theme in the novel? This is from Chapter 9.
In The Awakening, Edna refuses to "sacrifice herself for her children," yet, because she cannot give them what they need, she takes her own life. Discuss Edna's paradox.
In The Awakening, Edna reads Ralph Waldo Emerson's work. How do Emerson or his philosophies play a role in the novel for either Edna or Kate Chopin?
In Chapter 36 of Kate Chopin's short story The Awakening, Edna tells Robert "I am no longer one of Mr Pontellier's possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose. If he were to say, 'Here Robert, take her and be happy; she is yours,' I should laugh at you both." What does this quotation mean and how does it relate to Edna's situation. How does it relate to womens' lives?
In The Awakening, how is Edna's father, the Kentucky Colonel, relevant to the story, and what is his role? How does the Colonel affect Edna's life?
In Kate Chopin's brief novel The Awakening, Mademoiselle Reiz tells Edna, "The bird that would soar above the level of plain tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth" (page 83). What does this quote mean and how does it relate to Edna's situation in the novel?
In The Awakening, Edna experiences relationships with Robert, Mr. Pontellier, and Mademoiselle Reisz. Our understanding of self often comes in contrast to our relationships with others. Examine the context of each relationship and the self-awareness that Edna gains through her interactions with these characters. In the first fifteen chapters, a “lady in black” is referenced nine times. As you read, consider her image against the backdrop of these chapters. Explain what purpose she serves and how she provides a contrast to other images we see in the same scenes. Make sure to include textual evidence to support your findings.
Edna Pontellier could not have told why, wishing to go to the beach with Robert, she should in the first place have declined, and in the second place have followed in obedience to one of the two contradictory impulses which impelled her. A certain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her—the light which, showing the way, forbids it. At that early period it served but to bewilder her. It moved her to dreams, to thoughtfulness, to the shadowy anguish which had overcome her the midnight when she had abandoned herself to tears. In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her.This may seem like a ponderous weight of wisdom to descend upon the soul of a young woman of twenty-eight-- perhaps more wisdom than the Holy Ghost is usually pleased to vouchsafe to any woman. But the beginning of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing. How few of us ever emerge from such beginning!How many souls perish in its tumult! The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace. 1. The “it” in line 9 refers to: a) “ the two contradictory impluses” b)“a certain light...beginning to dawn” c) “the way” d) ”the shadowy anguish” 2. In line 23,”vouchsafe” can be best replaced by: a) bestow b) inform c) refuse d) deign 3. The final paragraph of the passage(lines 34-36) foreshadow a) Edna’s affair with Arobin b) Robert’s shipwreck on his way to Mexico c) the sucide at the end of the novel d) doctor Mandalet’s disapperance 4. Which of the following lines best describes Edna’s journey from this point to the end of the novel? a) “the voice of the sea speaks to the soul.” b)”this may seem like a ponderous weight of wisdom” c)”it moved her to dreams, to thoughtfullness, to shadowy anguish...” d)”of a world especially,is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic and exceedingly disturbing.” 5. Line 30 contains an example of which literacy device? a) polysyndeton b)asyndeton c)anthropomorphism D) metonymy 6.the final two paragraphs depict a sea that is: a) anthropomorphised b) didactic c) personified d) dynamic 7.which of the following best describes edna’s characterization in the passage: 1. She is firm in her resolve to do as she pleases. 2. She is confused and lost regarding who she is and what she wants. 3. She is young and a bit naive. a) 2 only b) 1 and 3 c) 2 and 3 d) 1,2, and 3 8. The shift in perspective in the sentence beginning on line 26 and ending on line 27 does all of the following except a) give the reader a direct connection to the emotions Edna is feeling. b) imply that the situation is not uncommon c) give the narrator the opportunity to insert her commentary and experiences d) describe a situation for Edna to be a part of something greater than she. 9. The ”anguish in line 12,most likely refers to a) Edna’s distress over the creole culture and her lack of understanding with it. b)the heartbreak Edna felt when she listened to Madame Ratignolle reveal the intimate details of her delivery, knowing she would never be a “mother-women” c) the torment of knowing that is on the beach with Robert and the moment,though beautiful to her, would have repercussions. d) the sadness Edna felt when she realized, after being scolded by Leonce and checking on Raoul, that she is trapped. 10. The tone of the passage the best be described as a) sardonic b)reverent c) didactic d)solemn What is a literacy foil? Which characters serve as foils in The Awakening and how does their relationship illuminate the text? Protagonist Edna Pontellier is said to possess “that outward existence which conforms, the inward life that questions.” Identify a character who outwardly conforms while questioning inwardly. Analyze how this tension between outward conformity and inward questioning contributes to the meaning of the work. Avoid mere plot summary.
In what ways did Robert influence Edna's awakening? I would like to know the ways that affected her awakening the most.
Edna Pontellier: Contradictions between the way others see her and the way she sees herself in The Awakening. Edna Pontellier is caught in the contradictions between the way others see her and the way she sees herself. Identify several moments in which this becomes apparent, and show Edna’s growing awareness of this contradiction.
How does Kate Chopin uses the characters in The Awakening to cast Edna Pontellier's desires in sharp relief?
What are five words that Kate Chopin uses to describe Alcee Arobin in her short novel The Awakening, and, of those five, which one fits him best and why?
Please provide 5 examples of Kate Chopin's style of writing (diction, syntax, parallelism, anaphora, etc) from The Awakening.
Count, characterize, and analyze the numerous women of color in The Awakening. What does their presence and their treatment in the novel suggest about Edna’s (and Chopin’s) attitudes towards human development for nonwhite and poor women?
In chapter thirty of The Awakening, Kate Chopin describes the lavish decor and food; however, midway through the dinner Edna is overcome with a feeling of hopelessness. What is the cause of Edna's morose feelings?
In The Awakening, on the night Robert says goodbye, Edna's children "appeared like antagonists who have overcome her, who had overpowered and sought to drag her into the sold slavery for the rest of her days. But she knew a way to elude them". How does this passage reflect on Edna as a mother?
How do various male characters help establish Edna's options in life? Discuss specifics. Does her relationship with any of them push her towards becoming like one of the other women in the novella?
From chapter 15 in The Awakening, explain and analyze Edna's reaction to Robert's departure. Use the lines from "As she seated herself and was about to begin" up through "she directly went to her room, the little cottage was closed and stuffy after leaving the outer air." (It begins from line 10 of chapter 15.)
"At a very early period she had apprehended instinctively the dual life-that outward." What does this suggest about Edna's inner struggle? The question refers to the whole sentence in chapter 7 of The Awakening, but I could only type some of it.
Every summer Robert becomes attached to a married woman at his mother's Grand Isle resort in The Awakening by Kate Chopin. What does this suggest about his character?
Choose quotations from The Awakening that reveal how the story’s antagonists develop the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, through contrast. Choose four characters and, for each, provide the name of the character, commentary on how he or she functions as a contrast to Edna, and a quotation from the book as support.
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