Syntax in The Awakening

Syntax Examples in The Awakening:

Chapter IX 1

"She was a disagreeable little woman, no longer young, who had quarreled with almost every one, owing to a temper which was self-assertive and a disposition to trample upon the rights of others...."   (Chapter IX)

The syntax of this sentence suggests that the woman’s disagreeable nature comes from the fact that she is “no longer young.” Mademoiselle Reisz is “disagreeable” not only because she is old but also because she is self-assertive and argumentative. In this way, Mademoiselle Reisz is a character that underscores Edna’s own awakening: she is a fully realized individual who does not conform to social expectations of how a woman should act.

"Edna bit her handkerchief convulsively, striving to hold back and to hide, even from herself as she would have hidden from another, the emotion which was troubling—tearing—her. Her eyes were brimming with tears...."   (Chapter XV)

Notice the syntax of this sentence mimics the denial of her feelings. The main idea of the sentence is interrupted multiple times by different clauses to delay the eventual conclusion that she is in love with Robert. For all of her new found independence, Edna still cannot be honest with herself about how she feels.