The Awakening Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is the first impression the author gives of Mr. Pontellier?

He is picky, and lacks humor. He has a set way of doing things. He is not very interested in others. He is very conscious about money matters and appearances. He also places values on people. For example, he thinks his own wife's value has dropped with her sunburn.

2. What is the first impression the author gives of Mrs. Pontellier?

Pretty much the opposite of her husband. She is more emotionally open and curious about people, and because of that, she enjoys socializing with others. Yet she is married to a prominent businessman who believes she has no other purpose than to be a dutiful wife and mother. Due to her marriage to the very traditional Leonce, and because Edna yearns for some kind of freedom outside the confines of her stifling marriage, the author also describes Mrs. Pontellier as emotionally repressed.

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