1.What features make The Awakening a "local color" story?
2.What customs and beliefs of Edna Pontellier's society are significant in relation to her psychological development?
3.What attitudes and tendencies in the Creole characters does Edna have trouble adjusting to?
4.Why did Edna marry Leonce? Is he the model husband?
5.What incidents in the novel reveal that he may not be a good husband for Edna?
6.How do Mlle. Reisz and Mme. Ratignolle function in relation to Edna and the novel's view of women as mothers and artists?
7.What kind of mother is Edna? What kind of artist is she?
8.How are the background characters such as the young lovers and the lady in black at the shore, significant in Edna's story?
9.In detail, explain how the flashbacks to Edna's past function. How does her father compare to the other men in her life?
10.How does the view of romantic love develop in the course of the novel? What is the doctor's view of marriage and childbearing?
11.Can you think of an emotional attachment and/or a romantic obsession you have studied in a previous work? How does that incident or character compare with Edna's emotional and romantic relationships?
12.What are the main images and symbols in the novel?
13.Why does Edna get involved with Alcee Arobin?
14.Why do you suppose critics were outraged at this novel in 1899, saying it committed "unutterable crimes against polite society" and should be labeled "poison" to protect "moral babes"?
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