Every masterpiece or a literary piece has unique quotations expressing universal themes. These quotes are often quoted by all and sundry in ordinary conversation and specific writings, speeches and addresses. Quotes or quotations do not lose their universality whatever the circumstances or times may be. The quotes from The Awakening have the same predominance as Kate Chopin has specifically inserted these expressions through her female characters. Some of the best quotes of The Awakening have been explained below.
Quotes from The Awakening
“In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her.”
These words appear in the fifth chapter of the novel. Although the words describe the changes in the mind of Edna Pontellier, the protagonist, the idea given is universal. It is an existential crisis of most people to choose freedom and to know their place in this universe as think about their own well-being and liberty. The relationship among humans both external and internal are confusing. These lines are very significant, as they show an individual’s attempt to break the social norms while seeing his/her status in the world.
“She let her mind wander back over her stay at Grand Isle; and she tried to discover wherein this summer had been different from any and every other summer of her life. She could only realize that she herself-her present self-was in some way different than the other self.”
These lines appear in the fourteenth chapter. During her stay at Grand Isle, Edna Pontellier has become self-reflective after meeting the Ratignolle family, and she ponders upon her past adventures. She is surprised that her “present self” is different from her former self. These lines are significant as Edna realizes that she is changing her identity and begins to see the world differently.
“The past was nothing to her; offered no lesson which she was willing to heed. The future was a mystery which she never attempted to penetrate. The present alone was significant; was hers, to torture her as it was doing then with the biting conviction that she had lost that which she had held, that she had been denied that which her impassioned, newly awakened being demanded.”
These lines are very significant, as they show that Enda Pontellier wants to enjoy her life. She has realized that she has never thought of her future and knows that it will be a mystery. However, she admits that in the past she hadn’t learned any lesson and it was painful. In other words, she is not willing to stay in her marriage or take any responsibilities and wants to take advantage of the present moment.
“I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children, but I wouldn’t give myself. I can’t make it clear, it’s only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me.” Chapter XVI
Edna Pontellier speaks these words to assert her identity while she is engaged in conversation with Madame Ratignolle. She expresses that she can leave everything, including money, and also die for her children. However, her identity and her freedom are very dear to her because she has begun to embrace free-spirited life and cannot sacrifice it for anyone including her children.
“Once she stopped, and taking off her wedding ring, flung it upon the carpet. When she saw it lying there, she stamped her heel upon it, striving to crush it. But the small boot heel did not make an indenture, not a mark upon the little glittering circlet.”
The narrator uses these words about Edna. The marriage, which was an exciting experience for her in the past, has now become oppressing. In fact, it is the pressure of domestic life that has made her feel oppressed. Therefore, she tries here to break this marriage bond to free herself from limitations. However, as the ring doesn’t break or damage, she realizes that her marriage bond is far from broken.
“She felt no interest in anything about her. The street, the children, the fruit vendor, the flowers growing there under her eyes, were all part and parcel of an alien world which has suddenly become antagonistic.”
Edna Pontellier’s life changes after meeting Robert. However, after Robert pretends to go away on the business trip, Edna loses interest in everything. The narrator explains that she has lost interest not only in herself but also in everything around her. These lines are significant, as they show Edna’s beginning of the realization that the world is not as friendly as she thought.
“And, moreover, to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul.”
Mademoiselle Reisz and Edna are engaged in a serious conversation about music. Mademoiselle is talking about the art and the artistic work. She says that an artist must be bold enough to speak their mind. In other words, she expresses that it takes a lot of courage to be an artist who doesn’t care about people’s opinion. It could be an encouragement to Edna to take a bold step to become independent.
“She won’t go to the marriage. She says a wedding is one of the most lamentable spectacles on earth.”
Leonce Pontellier, Edna’s husband, speaks these words when meeting Dr. Mandelet. They talk about her mental condition and Leonce explains how she is losing interest in life, and marriage ceremonies. These lines are important as they throw light on Enda’s transformation as she gets detached from her traditions and relationships.
“Conditions would some way adjust themselves, she felt; but whatever came, she had resolved never again to belong to another than herself.”
Mademoiselle Reisz and Edna are talking about life. Edna reveals that she is going to leave the grand mansion of her husband to live somewhere else on her own, at Pigeon House. These are her feelings that the situation would adjust itself. However, she is determined that she would live an independent life away from her husband. These lines point to Edna’s firm resolution to live an unconventional life.
“The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude.”
These lines appear in the end of the novel where Edna is enjoying the solitude at sea and keeps swimming further. These lines have always been presented as a mystery in literature. Edna is heartbroken when Robert leaves her again. She recalls her life and every relationship including her husband and children. She struggles to accept responsibilities and choose freedom over family. In other words, these words show Edna’s resolution to lose herself may also mean that she was unwilling to return to the shore.