Chapter XXVIII

EDNA CRIED A LITTLE that night after Arobin left her. It was only one phase of the multitudinous emotions which had assailed her. There was with her an overwhelming feeling of irresponsibility. There was the shock of the unexpected and the unaccustomed. There was her husband's reproach looking at her from the external things around her which he had provided for her external existence. There was Robert's reproach making itself felt by a quicker, fiercer, more overpowering love, which had awakened within her toward him. Above all, there was understanding. She felt as if a mist had been lifted from her eyes, enabling her to took upon and comprehend the significance of life, that monster made up of beauty and brutality. But among the conflicting sensations which assailed her, there was neither shame nor remorse. There was a dull pang of regret because it was not the kiss of love which had inflamed her, because it was not love which had held this cup of life to her lips.

Footnotes

  1. Edna’s realization that her awakening was not caused by her love for Robert is surprising. The reader has watched Edna question her circumstances and grow within them before and after Robert was involved in the narrative. It seems rather obvious that Edna’s awakening comes from within her. However, her surprise that love was not the cause of this change demonstrates Edna’s personal constraints: since she has lived within a society that objectifies her, it is hard for her to believe that her identity is not dependent on a man.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. It is interesting that the narrator refers to Edna’s lover only by his last name. Unlike her husband, who is referred to by his proper title “Mr.”, and her true love Robert, who is referred to by his first name, Arobin is only identified by his family’s name. This could be a way in which the narrator depersonalizes Arobin. His function in the book is to be a platform on which Enda can explore her individuality rather than to be a complex character in his own right.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor