Tone in The Awakening

Tone Examples in The Awakening:

Chapter VIII 1

"“She is not one of us; she is not like us. She might make the unfortunate blunder of taking you seriously.”..."   (Chapter VIII)

We learn here that Madame Ratignolle is upset by what Edna has told her. Edna’s unconventional inner transformation has now become apparent to others, leading the more traditional characters to feel concerned or even defensive. Edna is rejecting the socially acceptable order that regards marriage and motherhood as the most (if not the only) meaningful and significant aspects of a woman’s life.

"Edna held out her hand, and taking the ring, slipped it upon her finger. ..."   (Chapter XVII)

As the last line of the chapter, this action is incredibly powerful. Chopin creates a tone of crushing defeat to make Edna’s hopelessness apparent. When Edna slips the ring back on her finger, Chopin emphasizes that Edna’s outburst has made no difference in the grand scheme of things. Society has won and Edna remains cemented in a role she does not want to inhabit.