In Chapter 24, when Edna’s children are sent away and she is finally alone, she feels “a radiant peace.” Later, Edna walks around her home with a new perspective, and the novel uses a simile and an oxymoron to capture Edna’s changed point of view:
The flowers were like new acquaintances; she approached them in a familiar spirit, and made herself at home among them.
This passage compares the flowers to “new acquaintances,” an oxymoron, to suggest the flowers are both familiar and unfamiliar to her. This is a result of Edna seeing her surrounding environment—and eventually social conventions—anew, a result of her experiencing an awakening during the summer at Grand Isle. This process of awakening, for Edna, brings her clarity and allows her to recognize her desires, which are ultimately in conflict with the expectations placed on her as a woman living in restrictive Victorian society.