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by Kate Chopin
The Awakening Chapter 36 Summary
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Edna and Robert bump into each other at a restaurant. Although Edna had told herself to act indifferent around him, two minutes later she’s trying to persuade him to share her dinner. He sits down and before long she comes right out with it: "Why have you kept away from me, Robert?" she asks. He says she is cruel for insisting that he expose his wounds to her, when she has no intention of healing them, nor the power to do so. She changes the subject, feeling that she doesn’t want to spoil his dinner. They make small talk about the restaurant, the coffee, the food. She asks him if he’s going to smoke with his coffee. Robert gets out a cigar, and lays it on the table. Edna asks who gave it to him. Turns out he bought it himself. Turns out he bought a whole box of cigars. After they eat, Robert walks her home and goes inside with her. Robert sits down. Edna kisses him. He jumps up, takes her in his arms, and kisses her again. He pulls her down beside him on the sofa and tells her that now she knows what he has been fighting against since last summer. He admits his love for her and tells her that he was thinking about her all the time he was in Mexico. He says he went there in the first place because he had this wild dream that she could become his wife. Edna is startled by the word "wife." He admits it’s crazy, but he can’t help thinking about it. Here’s the kicker: instead of proclaiming her love for him, Edna effectively declares her independence. She makes it clear that she can be possessed by no one, not even Robert. Robert is afraid and shocked by this statement. He doesn’t know what to say. At this perfectly appropriate moment, there comes a knock on the door. Adele is having her baby. Robert kisses Edna passionately and begs her not to go, but she feels that she must. Edna extracts a promise from Robert that he will wait for her until she comes back.
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