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Themes

In The Awakening, marriage is a huge barrier to happiness and individual fulfillment because the archetypical marriage had an "I Tarzan, you Jane" dynamic. At the start of the novel, Edna is barely conscious of her habit of simply acquiescing to her husband’s orders, but as the book progresses, she begins to disobey his commands and make her own decisions about how to spend her time and energy. Furthermore, by the end of the book that Edna is so disillusioned by the whole institution of marriage that she doesn’t even want to marry the man that she truly loves.

Questions About Marriage

  1. What’s Edna’s problem with marriage? She hates on it so much even though she is married. How did that happen?
  2. What would a happy marriage look like for Edna? Is such a situation possible?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Edna wants no greater independence and freedom of movement in her marriage than what her husband already enjoys.

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