Finally, the central passion of this story sees some fruition.
I can’t help thinking along those terms as I forge the broken link in my stream of reading Chopin. I’ve enjoyed meandering around many different facets of the book – the feminist themes – the varying personas of Edna – etc. Now that we come to some materialization of the silent passion between Robert and Edna, I can’t help but going back to that gorgeous line:
“…the same glance which had penetrated to
the sleeping places of her soul and awakened them.”
The glance referred to here so majestically is of course, none other than Robert Lebrun’s. [I love how any analysis / description about period writing always refers to lead male characters with their full name.] I realize I always tend to struggle against looking at a novel as a love story, as much as I can. I always try to fit it into context, to see how the central or multiple threads of love and relationships reflect on the social undercurrents or overtones of the piece. I think someone else quoted this line and it made it stand out and remind me that the story is about this passion, this love, and that love is very much connected to the absolute main theme of the book: awakening.
Not only does this quote, I must sadly admit, rather cheesily take my breath away, it also provides a relationship epiphany for real life:
The passions / infatuations or deepest and most significant relationships of our lives could possibly be those that we associate, for some reason, with a time period, process or sentiment in our lives that we cherish or cling to. Perhaps this is just a new packaging of an old truth: that we fall in love with versions of ourselves at a certain time, and the commitment and love spun from that time binds us together (hopefully) as we change.
This quote illuminates the same for Edna, I feel, with such discerning elegance. Besides the aforementioned Darcy-esque pang of quavering passion that it renders amongst many a girlish reader [or so I hope and assume], it almost provides some stability in the rather daring process of her awakening. She does experience sensuality during this phase apart from Robert, and her enjoyment and awareness of this side of herself emboldens her. But it is, as we are reminded here, Robert who… [urh, if you will].. planted the seeds.
It’s strange how, as a reader, I felt a certain nocturnal, balmy magic slip away from the text as Edna leaves the sea side and settles back into her city life. It is truly as if that place, time and Robert all conspired together to set her free.
Onwards I read.