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Chapter 36 Summary and Analysis

Summary
When Edna is out walking, she often stops in a small quiet garden in the suburbs, where the proprietress sells and serves excellent food. It is not a place that is known to many people, and she never expects to see anyone she knows.

One afternoon, when she is eating dinner there, Robert walks in; he is uneasy and embarrassed when he sees Edna. Edna had intended to be reserved if she saw Robert but her reserve melts when she sees him. She asks him why he is staying away from her. Robert becomes almost angry and begs her to leave him alone.

Edna tells him he is selfish, not caring how she feels. Robert replies that she is being cruel, trying to force him into a disclosure that will result in nothing for him. They chat a bit about impersonal things; Robert tells Edna the end of the book she is reading so she won’t have to finish it.

When they are finished, Robert walks Edna home. She goes into her room to wash up, and when she comes back to the living room, Robert is leaning back in a chair as if in a reverie. She leans over and kisses him, then moves away. Robert follows her and takes her in his arms. She touches his face with love and tenderness, and they kiss again.

Robert finally admits that he loves her. He says he has been fighting it because she was not free, but he had been dreaming of marrying her and that Leonce would set her free. Edna kisses him again and tells him he is being silly. She tells him she is not a possession of Leonce’s and that he could not set her free if he wanted to. She makes it clear that she gives herself as she chooses.

Robert turns white; he does not understand. Just then Adele’s servant comes to the door to say that Adele is ready to have her baby and wants Edna to come. Robert kisses Edna good-bye with more passion than before. Edna tells him she loves him, and they can be together now. She asks him to wait for her until she returns from Adele’s. Robert pleads with her not to go, but she leaves, promising to be back soon.

Discussion and Analysis

Again Edna refuses to let Robert be. She presses until she gets a response. She tells Robert that he is being selfish, without thinking for a minute about how selfish she is being or how uncaring.

Edna is determined that her passion will...

(The entire section is 644 words.)