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by Kate Chopin
The Awakening Chapter 9 Summary
Time passes. It’s been a few weeks since Adele’s conversation with Robert (it’s now August 28), and the people at Grand Isle have gathered together in Madame Lebrun’s big house for a party. Two fourteen-year-old girls, the Farival twins, play the piano for everyone’s entertainment. The parrot (remember, from Chapter One?) shrieks outside the door until the twins’ grandfather, old Monsieur Farival, has the bird removed. Everyone dances, including Edna, who dances twice with her husband, once with Robert, and once with Adele’s husband. Adele can’t dance because she is pregnant, so she plays the piano when the twins have finished. She says she keeps up with her music because it makes her home brighter and more attractive. After a while, Edna goes out to the porch and gazes out at the sea. Sure enough, after a while, Robert comes looking for her. Nothing happens between them, but Robert asks Edna if she would like to hear Mademoiselle Reisz play the piano. Edna says yes and Robert goes off to find her. According to the narrator, Mademoiselle Reisz is not at all attractive. But when she plays the piano… Well, let’s just say that she rocks it. After Mademoiselle Reisz plays Chopin, Edna feels waves of passion and finds tears in her eyes. When Mademoiselle Reisz leaves, she pats Edna on the shoulder. Mademoiselle Reisz considers Edna the only member of the audience worthy of her performance. Notice that the narrator describes the woman who is a real artist as being physically unattractive, whereas the woman who plays as a hobby (Adele) is described as a beautiful angel. At the time this book was written, it was impossible for a woman to be praised for being anything other than a "mother-woman." After the performance someone (the narrator thinks it may have been Robert) suggests going for a dip under the moon.
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