In The Awakening, producing real art requires holding a position outside the societal mainstream. The lives of the two artists we see in The Awakening, Mademoiselle Reisz and Edna Pontellier, suggest that art requires a singular devotion that is impossible to have if also married. The Awakening thus paints a conflict between the pursuit of art and acceptance by society. Mademoiselle Reisz and Edna are both willing to pay the price to be real artists.
In The Awakening, art is inextricably linked to passion.