The Awakening

Yesterday I reread The Awakening for the first time since high school. It was a slightly surreal experience — I wasn’t reading my same copy of the book, but I still stumbled across sentences I remember loving, with vivid memories attached. I remember which passages struck me as important, then, and which I used in writing our god-blessed Five Paragraph Essays, etc. Anyway, I do love this novella, especially a few passages which I’ll be glad to have at hand from here on out.

“Why?” asked her companion. “Why do you love him when you ought not to?”

Edna, with a motion or two, dragged herself on her knees before Mademoiselle Reisz, who took the glowing face between her two hands.

“Why? Because his hair is brown and grows away from his temples; because he opens and shuts his eyes, and his nose is a little out of drawing; because he has two lips and a square chin, and a little finger which he can’t straighten from having played baseball too energetically in his youth. Because –“

“Because you do, in short,” laughed Mademoiselle.


Above all, there was understanding. She felt as if a mist had been lifted from her eyes, enabling her to look upon and comprehend the significance of life, that monster made up of beauty and brutality.


She went on and on. She remembered the night she swam far out, and recalled the terror that seized her at the fear of being unable to regain the shore. She did not look back now, but went on and on, thinking of the blue-grass meadow that she had traversed when a little child, believing that it had no beginning and no end.