The Awakening: Novel Summary: Part 24

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Chapter 24

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Edna and the Colonel argue over Edna's refusal to attend Janet's wedding; Edna is glad when her father leaves. Mr. Pontellier goes with him. The Colonel advises him to be firmer with Edna: "Put your foot down good and hard; the only way to manage a wife." The narrator tells us that the Colonel "had coerced his own wife into her grave."
Although Edna at first reacts to her husband's impending departure with affectionate attention-significantly, "quite as Madame Ratignolle would have done"-she soon enjoys the "radiant peace" and relief of being alone (her children are with their grandmother in Iberville). Edna uses her solitude to rediscover her house and garden. She enjoys a meal by herself, embarks on an ambitious reading program, and bathes. This chapter thus establishes the difference between the stifling isolation Edna has suffered to this point, and the liberating solitude she now experiences.

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