The Lady in Black
In the novel, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Chopin makes several observations and comments about a couple and the lady who is incessantly following behind them. The couple is mainly characterized by romantic characteristics and they are always together. Yet, every time Edna points them out the lady in black is mentioned too. Additionally, every time the lady in black seems to have crept closer, and every time she has her rosary beads. The lady in black is a widow and this is symbolic of what is to come for the couple if they continue on their “procession” as it is described in the novel. The couple, as they fall deeper in love, and as the lady in black gets closer, becomes closer and closer to marriage and essentially death.
The first time Chopin mentions the lovers and the lady in black is the first time she sees them, yet she speaks of them like they are a common occurrence—suggesting to the reader the deep connection and almost obsession between the two lovers. The couple is described, “The lovers were just entering the grounds of the pension. They were leaning toward each other as the water-oaks bent from the sea. There was not a particle of earth beneath their feet. Their heads might have been turned upside-down, so absolutely did they tread upon blue ether” (21). The lovers are so closely intertwined and “in love” that they do not even recognize what is around them, and surely enough, “The lady in black creeping behind them, looked a trifle paler and more jaded than usual” (21). The lady in black is never seen separate from the lovers, and she is nameless—purely symbolic of the terrible situation the couple is headed towards if they further their relationship with marriage.
The second time Chopin talks of the lovers and the couple is on a Sunday. Chopin says, “The lovers, who had laid their plans the night before, were already strolling toward the wharf. The lady in black, with her Sunday prayer book, velvet and gold-clasped,...