by Kate Chopin
The Awakening Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Has she," asked the Doctor, with a smile, "has she been associating of late with a circle of pseudo-intellectual women--super-spiritual superior beings? My wife has been telling me about them."
"That's the trouble," broke in Mr. Pontellier, "she hasn't been associating with any one. She has abandoned her Tuesdays at home, has thrown over all her acquaintances, and goes tramping about by herself, moping in the street-cars, getting in after dark. I tell you she's peculiar. I don't like it; I feel a little worried over it." (22.14-15)
In this passage, Chopin makes direct reference to the feminist movement.
"You have been a very, very foolish boy, wasting your time dreaming of impossible things when you speak of Mr. Pontellier setting me free! I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier's possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose. If he were to say, 'Here, Robert, take her and be happy; she is yours,' I should laugh at you both."
His face grew a little white. "What do you mean?" he asked. (36.42 - 43)
Edna declares that she is not a possession (which actually contradicts Louisiana law at this time). Edna asserts that she alone has the power to give herself (her love, her time, her company, etc.) to someone. Robert clearly doesn’t understand this concept.
A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before. (10. 7)
Wow, that’s pretty heavy-handed symbolism. "Where no woman had swum before!" Edna hopes to surpass existing convention regarding female behavior.