What is the function of Edna's flashbacks in The Awakening?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Edna's flashbacks reveal that she has always, consciously or not, questioned society's rules and the expectations placed on her as a female in the late-nineteenth century. The narrator describes Edna's juvenile crush on a famous tragedian (an actor), and she would kiss the glass on a framed picture she kept of him. Her marriage to Leonce, however, was "purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as decrees of Fate."

It is telling that the narrator describes her marriage as looking like it has to do with fate, as though Edna has no real choice in the matter—as though she entered into her role without really realizing what she was doing. She is flattered by his devotion, believes that they have some things in common, and feels her father and sister's "violent opposition" to her marriage to a Catholic. This is enough for her because she thinks that her relationship is unique and interesting. At any rate, once she realized her error,

As the...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 529 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team