The Awakening Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- How does this novel frame the notions of freedom and responsibility?
- What role do children play in Edna’s life?
- Think about the three main women in the novel: Edna, Adele, and Mademoiselle Reisz. How are they different and how are they alike?
- Why did Edna return to Grand Isle at the end of the novel?
- Which of the men in the novel do you find most sympathetic? Why?
- Does Edna undergo more than one awakening in this novel? What is she awakened to?
- Why does Mademoiselle Reisz say that it takes courage to be an artist? Do you agree? Is her opinion rooted in her time and her gender?
- Imagine The Awakening set in today’s American society. How would it be different? How would it be the same?
- What role does race and class play in this novel? Does Edna have anything in common with the poor black woman who serves her?
- Is Edna’s act of suicide at the end of the novel an act of bravery or cowardice? Do you think it was an intentional or premeditated act on her part? Why does Chopin leave the answer to this question so vague?