Love and Death in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

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Love and Death in The Awakening

"It was when the face and figure of a great tragedian began to haunt her imagination and stir her senses. The persistence of the infatuation lent it an aspect of genuineness. The hopelessness of it colored it with the lofty tones of a great passion:" (Chopin 17) a passion that eventually lost its newness and was relegated to the shelf that held vague, yet comfortably delightful remembrances. The tragedian keeps company with a visiting cavalry officer and an engaged gentleman. Though, in reality, the gentleman is probably no longer engaged, he will remain so in the mind of Edna Pontellier: one of the images of the infatuations of a "little miss." (Chopin 17) With regard to her marriage to
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In this particular season, Edna is the sole recipient of his company. Together, they bathe at the shore and tour the sights. Robert is a constant companion, whether it is to retrieve a shawl or to lend himself as an easy conversationalist. They seem to compliment each other: each experiences the most pleasant moments when in the other's association. Edna becomes more and more at ease being in the company of a man other than her husband. Their camaraderie is so apparent that at least one observer wonders if something more than a friendship may be brewing. The angelic Adele Ratignolle voices her opinion that should Robert not quit in his attentions, "she [Edna] might make the mistake of taking you seriously." (Chopin 19) At this, the defendant fires back with an uncharacteristically sharp retort: "Why shouldn't she take me seriously? ... I hope she has discernment enough to find in me something besides the blagueur." (Chopin 20) From inference of remarks made about past events, we can gather that Robert has not felt so deeply for any of the other women to whom he has attached himself in years past. That Adele finds it necessary to impart a warning speaks of a more tangible attraction emanating from Robert's quarter. However, things may progress no further than this point of casual friendship. Edna has always been a proprietary

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