by Kate Chopin
The Awakening Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Even as a child she had lived her own small life all within herself. At a very early period she had apprehended instinctively the dual life—that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions (7.1).
There are two Ednas – an Inner Edna and an Outer Edna – and the two do not match up. The Outer Edna conforms to societal expectations while the Inner Edna questions her actions.
Edna looked straight before her with a self-absorbed expression upon her face. She felt no interest in anything about her. The street, the children, the fruit vender, the flowers growing there under her eyes, were all part and parcel of an alien world which had suddenly become antagonistic. (18.5)
Society is now Edna’s enemy. That’s not very pleasant, nor does it bode well for the future.
Every step she took toward relieving herself of obligations added to her strength and expansion as an individual. She began to look with her own eyes; to see and to apprehend the deeper undercurrents of life. No longer was she content to "feed upon opinion" when her own soul had invited her. (32.7)
There’s an inverse relationship between obligations to society and happiness as an individual. In other words, the more Edna distances herself from society and its demands, the happier she is as an individual.