The Awakening: Top Ten Quotes

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  1. In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her. Chapter VI
  2. [Edna] let her mind wander back over her stay at Grand Isle; and she tried to discover wherein this summer had been different from any and every other summer of her life. She could only realize that she herself-her present self-was in some way different than the other self. Chapter XIV
  3. The past was nothing to [Edna]; offered no lesson which she was willing to heed. The future was a mystery which she never attempted to penetrate. The present alone was significant; was hers, to torture her as it was doing then with the biting conviction that she had lost that which she had held, that she had been denied that which her impassioned, newly awakened being demanded. Chapter XV
  4. [Edna to Madame Ratignolle:] "I would give up the unessential [for my children]; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself. I can't make it more clear, it's only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me." Chapter XVI
  5. [Mr. Pontellier to Edna:] "Why, my dear, I should think you'd understand by this time that people don't do such things; we've got to observe Bronte if we ever expect to get on and keep up with the procession." Chapter XVII
  6. Edna looked straight before her with a self-absorbed expression upon her face. She felt no interest in anything about her. The street, the children, the fruit vender, the flowers growing there under her eyes, were all part and parcel of an alien world which had suddenly become antagonistic. Chapter XVIII
  7. [Of Mr. Pontellier's view of Edna:] He could see plainly that she was not herself. That is, he could not see that she was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world. Chapter XIX
  8. [Mademoiselle Reisz to Edna:] "And, moreover, to succeed, the artist must posses the courageous soul."
    [Edna asks,] "What do you mean by the courageous soul?"
    "Courageous, ma foi! The brave soul. The soul that dares and defies." Chapter XXI
  9. Conditions would some way adjust themselves, [Edna] felt; but whatever came, she had resolved never again to belong to another than herself. Chapter XXVI
  10. The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude. Chapter XXXIX

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