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The Awakening
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Part VI

Edna Pontellier could not have told why, wishing to go to the
beach with Robert, she should in the first place have declined, and
in the second place have followed in obedience to one of the two
contradictory impulses which impelled her.
A certain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her,—the
light which, showing the way, forbids it.
At that early period it served but to bewilder her. It moved
her to dreams, to thoughtfulness, to the shadowy anguish which had
overcome her the midnight when she had abandoned herself to tears.
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. This
may seem like a ponderous weight of wisdom to descend upon the soul
of a young woman of twenty-eight—perhaps more wisdom than the Holy
Ghost is usually pleased to vouchsafe to any woman.
But the beginning of things, of a world especially, is
necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing.
How few of us ever emerge from such beginning! How many souls
perish in its tumult!
The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering,
clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in
abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward
The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea
is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.
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