The Awakening


Kate Chopin

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The Awakening: Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

One day, Pontellier goes to visit Doctor Mandelet, an old friend who is known for his wisdom. He tells the doctor that Edna has been unwell: she has been acting strangely and ignoring her housewifely duties—she had mentioned something related to women’s rights. The doctor suggests that Pontellier send Edna to her sister’s wedding, but Pontellier replies that she refuses to go—she hates the idea of marriage. The doctor thinks for a minute and advises him to leave his wife alone for a while, until her strange mood passes. Pontellier plans to go away on business for a while, and the doctor tells him to leave his wife in New Orleans if she prefers it. He promises to come see the couple later that week.
For the first time, the narrator mentions women’s rights as such. We’ve observed that Edna’s dissatisfactions have mostly been linked to her identity as a wife and mother, but now Edna herself has connected her sadness to her position as a woman in late nineteenth century New Orleans – and she tells her husband as much, in her new confidence and forthrightness. We can infer, from her husband’s confused report, that she experiences marriage as one of the main factors of female oppression.
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