I got a gift certificate to Borders from some friends from work. A hardcover copy of Kate Chopin's The Awakening was waiting for me on the bargain shelf. This is an amazing story, and there is one chapter that captured my heart the first time I read this novel. I've put the entirety of chapter six below. Chopin's words are poetry to me- they describe a personal journey that I have experienced these last years.
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 her 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 contemplation.
The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in it's soft, close embrace.