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Awakening or Suicide The Awakening opens in the late 1800s in Grand Isle a summer holiday resort popular with the wealthy inhabitants of nearby New Orleans Edna Pontellier is vacationing with her husband Leonce Pontellier and their two sons at the cottages of Madame Lebrun Leonce is a kind and loving husband but is preoccupied with is work His frequent business related absences ruins his relationship with Edna Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of fateChopin 1182 Edna spends most of her time with her friend Adele Ratignolle a married woman who epitomizes womanly elegance and charm Through her relationship with Adele Edna learns a great deal about freedom of expression Exposure to such openness liberates Edna from her previously modest behavior and repressed emotions and desires Ednas relationship with Adele begins her process of awakening and self-discovery This process accelerates as Edna comes to know Robert Lebrun Robert is known among the Grand Isle vacationers as a man who chooses one woman each year often a married woman to whom he devotes his attentions to all summer long This summer he devotes himself to Edna and the two of them spend their days together lounging and talking by the shore At first the relationship between Robert and Edna is innocent They mostly bathe in the sea or engage in idle talk As the summer progresses however Edna and Robert grow closer and Roberts affections and attention inspire in Edna several internal revelations She feels more alive than ever before and she starts to paint again as she did in her youth She also learns how to swim and becomes aware of her independence and sexuality A feeling of exultation overtook her as if some power of significant important had been given her to control the working of her body and soul 1189 Edna and Robert never openly
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