Chapter 11 Summary and Analysis
When Leonce returns to the cottage, he finds Edna lying in the hammock and asks, then demands, that she come inside. Edna refuses, realizing that this is the first time she has ever done so.
Leonce had prepared for bed already, but he goes outside and sits in the rocker with a glass of wine and a cigar. After a while, Edna feels her will leaving her; she begins to feel helpless again. She arises and goes inside and asks Leonce if he is joining her. He tells her he will come in after he finishes his cigar.
Discussion and Analysis
Edna’s refusal to go inside at Leonce’s command marks her first rebellion, powered by her swim and the spirits of the night. She realized that her will had “blazed up,” and that she could have not done other than refuse him. Her “awakening” is powerful and has more control of her than she has of it at times.
Unfortunately, Leonce still wins this first round. As he sits smoking on the porch, Edna again begins to feel “the realities pressing against her soul.” This is the reality of convention that Edna is fighting against, the convention that gives the husband control over the wife. Her feeling of exuberance turns to one of helplessness and weakness, and she has to yield.