This will be a short response, mainly because I read the story, did not think about the questions it raised or read the underlying symbolism. I only read to page 131 of the book, around part 38 (XXXVIII). Which further kiboshes my agility and ability on the English obstacle course. And so…
Hears what I think of the story, as well as my other thoughts.
It seams like a common theme to have a strong female character try and explain (example: Edna can do what she pleases because, she to, is a human being) to a male character, like Robert and Edna, and the man can’t seem to wrap his head around what she is saying. perhaps it is that I am born in this time or that I’m just weird, but I don’t understand how a man could not wrap their head around some thing so simple. They can’t seem to just go, “great, your head strong, and you’ve realized that your a human being how can make your own choices.” He (I’m picking on Robert) just seem to sit there, white in the face, going “what? but but but. ????? *insert abject confusion here* ???”. They all seem to be hard headed, unable to change in the slightest way.
I also note that Robert is a lot like Mr. Pontellier, a business man who is a man of his time and set in his ways. But it fascinates me on how much different of a character Robert would be if he stayed when Edna begged him to, or if he did comprehend her notion of, her being free to do what she wants.
Over all the story is good, I hear that others find it slow, but I’ve read slower. I actually find that it has a fairly pleasant pace. Chopin paints the world of The Awakening very vividly in my mind, I like having a world that I can sink my teeth in to. She also paints most of the characters vividly, so that they seem like real people in some fashion or other. The events of the story shape the characters, but I find them a bit, common. Which I suppose is the entire reason they’re there. Same with the characters and the world, everything except Edna, who is different only because she “Awakens”.