What are the internal and external conflicts in The Awakening?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The major conflict in Chopin's The Awakening has to do with Edna's feeling that she is restricted by her role as a wife and mother.  She has a short romance with Robert Lebrun, and after this affair, Edna begins to see her life in strikingly different ways.  She resents her role as a mother and sees her children as "baggage" that hold her back from living the life that she truly wants.  Similarly, Edna feels that her marriage is restrictive, and although her husband allows her many freedoms, Edna feels that the fact that she has to ask permission to do what she wants is limiting.  At the end of the novel, Edna's drowning herself is symbolic of the freedom that she now has away from her former lifestyle.