The Awakening: Novel Summary: Part 34

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Chapter 34

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Before dinner, Edna presses Robert for information about his time in Mexico, especially information about the women he met there. He seems reluctant to tell her much; for example, in response to Edna's question about a girl in Vera Cruz who gave him a tobacco pouch, he says, "There are some people who leave impressions not so lasting as the imprint of an oar upon the water," while refusing to confirm whether that girl-and surely, by extension, Edna herself-belongs to "that order and kind." Arobin arrives, carrying a message that a Mrs. Merriman's card party has been postponed due to her child's sickness; he and Robert exchange pleasantries. Arobin remarks that he found the women during his stay in Mexico to be "stunning." Perhaps to avoid an awkward moment, Robert departs. Arobin asks if Edna would like to do anything that evening; Edna says she would not. Before Arobin leaves, he tells Edna that he is alive only when near her. When Edna asks whether Arobin says that to many women, he confesses that he does, "but I don't think I ever came so near meaning it"-clearly, not a response for which Edna had been hoping: when he smiles at Edna, her eyes possess only "a dreamy, absent look." Her "stupor" continues after Arobin leaves, as Edna imagines "a transcendently seductive vision of a Mexican girl" who causes her to feel jealousy. She decides that Robert was nearer to her in Mexico than he is, now, back in New Orleans.

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