The Awakening

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The Awakening Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Mademoiselle Reisz lives in a cramped, untidy attic apartment crowded by a beautiful piano. She is very pleased to see Edna; she did not think Edna would accept her invitation. When Edna learns that Mlle Reisz has a letter from Robert, she convinces the older woman to let her read it. The letter mentions her very often; as Edna reads, Mademoiselle Reisz plays sad, beautiful music. Edna cries over the letter and promises to come see the pianist another time.
Madame Ratignolle and other women like her revere cleanliness and neatness, but Mademoiselle Reisz does not pay attention to the surfaces of her home. Her piano, her passion, is all that matters. Edna, too, often disregards messes—she sleeps in a dirty hammock and lets her face burn in the sun. She chooses the internal over the external.
Themes
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Women’s Rights, Femininity, and Motherhood Theme Icon
Action and Reflection Theme Icon