Chapter 32 Summary and Analysis
Leonce, who is too late, sends word to Edna that he disapproves of her move, mainly because he is afraid that people will think their finances have taken a turn for the worse. He takes care of it in a businesslike manner, immediately planning reconstruction of the old house so that it will seem like they had no choice but to move.
Edna is very happy in her new home. She feels that although she may have descended the social scale, she has moved up on the spiritual scale and is able to see and understand things with her own eyes.
Edna goes to visit her children who are staying with Leonce’s mother on the farm. She weeps with joy to see them and truly enjoys their company for the whole week. When she leaves, she carries the sound of their voices all the way home. However, once she gets home, she forgets it, because she is alone again.
Discussion and Analysis
As always, Leonce’s concerns are financial, not personal. His only thought over Edna’s moving out is how it might affect his reputation and his business.
Edna enjoys her new home and feels as if she has grown spiritually. She is seeing the world with new eyes—with her own eyes—and she is thinking rather than blindly accepting. She is understanding things in a whole new way, gaining wisdom that most women never gain (see Chapter VI). Maybe she had to descend socially to do this because in her old social world it would not be possible. In her old social world, one had to conform to be accepted.
Because Edna is feeling spiritually fulfilled and independent, she feels loving toward her children and can’t get enough of them. Continuing with the theme of fulfilling appetite, Edna feels “hungry” for her children. Of course as soon as she returns home, she forgets them again.
It becomes clear that, as she has been accused of before, Edna has not thought out her future. What will she do when it is time for Leonce and the children to return? She tells the children that “the fairies would fix it all right,” but that is part of her fantasy. She thinks everything will work out if she just keeps on her present course. She does not yet realize the full implications and possible consequences of her actions.