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by Kate Chopin
The Awakening Chapter 10 Summary
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Everyone goes down to the water. Although Edna has received repeated swimming lessons this summer, she hasn’t mastered swimming yet. Tonight’s her night though! She overcomes her fear of the water and swims as far away from shore as possible. She’s exultant at the idea of going where no woman has gone before. After swimming for a time, she looks back to shore and is momentarily afraid of drowning. She makes it back to dry land, however. Once back, Edna dresses and heads back toward her cottage. Robert follows her (no surprise there), and they talk. Edna, overwhelmed by recent events, speculates that ghosts are wandering around. Robert confirms this hypothesis, telling Edna that on this day, a spirit rises up from the Gulf and seeks a human being to keep him company. Robert tells Edna that tonight, the spirit has apparently chosen Edna. She thinks he’s teasing her. What he’s really trying to do is convey to Edna that he understands what she’s talking about. He offers her his arm and they walk back together. Edna insists on lying down in the hammock outside her cottage instead of going inside (even though it is late). Robert sits next to her and smokes a cigarette. The two of them sit there awkwardly. Eventually, Robert leaves. With Edna’s swimming success have come new feelings for Robert.
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