One of the major themes of Chopin's "The Awakening" is the search for selfhood or identity. The novel's time period of the late 1800's gave women very few opportunities for self expression and independence. In Edna's quest for self discovery and autonomy, her husband is clearly an obstacle. It is not that she dislikes him on a personal level but society demanded that women be subservient to their husbands. Conflict ensues between Edna and Léonce when she begins to assert her independence.