The Awakening
Kate Chopin
Contributed by Loretta Ingwersen
Chapter 11-13

Leonce returns to the house to find Edna sprawled out in the hammock. He speaks to her, but she does not respond. After several attempts to bring her inside, she tells him she wants to stay outside. He worries that the mosquitos will bite her. Leonce becomes overtly frustrated and speaks down to his wife. She awakens and walks inside, asking him if he is coming. He replies that he will as soon as he finishes his cigar.

Edna sleeps very little and awakens early on Sunday morning. Most people are still asleep or are at Cheniere church. Robert joins her as they look around at their surroundings. They walk to the beach and see a little Spanish girl named Mariequita gathering shrimp, the lovers resting from their long passionate night, and the sea. Edna stares at her dirty brown feet and exquisite black eyes. Mariequita questions Robert about Edna and wonders why she is staring at her. Robert tells Mariequita that Edna is not his sweetheart, that she is a married woman with two children, and that the two lovers they see embracing on the side are not married. Mariequita reminds Robert of another couple who ran off together, despite the imposition of side marriages.

Robert covers Edna’s face with the umbrella to block the sun’s rays. They laugh about finding a pirate’s treasure and sharing the wealth. They walk off together, forgetting about everyone behind them.

Edna almost faints while in church services and trips over Robert as she leaves the room. Monsieur Farival almost follows to check up on her, but stops as soon as he sees Robert exiting to do so. Robert remarks that it was silly to have gone to Church and that Edna should rest at Madame Antoine’s cot at the far end of the village. She speaks no English, but nonetheless welcomes Edna into her building openly and graciously after speaking with Robert. Although she had not gone to church, her son Tonie had. Madame Antoine’s place is immaculate, clean, and white. Edna hears the chickens below and Robert and Tonie speaking below the shed. She detects the strong Acadian accent.

Edna awakens after hours of slumber to Robert and an empty house. She inquires about everyone else and the events of the afternoon. He tells her that everyone is out, her friends stopped by to see how she was doing, and that Leonce will not worry because he knows she is with him. He teases her that she has been asleep for a hundred years and society has since changed.

Madame Antoine returns and sits her plump body on a bench beside the door where Edna sleeps. Edna and Robert leave to sail on Tonie’s boat in the misty evening.

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