first Edna does not want to go swimming as she has always been apprehensive
of the sea. However, now that she is undergoing an awakening, she
seems mysteriously drawn to that wide expanse of water, because
the act of giving herself to the ocean is another symbolic gesture
of her newfound freedom.
We read, “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 its soft close embrace.”
We witness Edna’s intimacy with the ocean, and this in a way is a substitute
for a relationship with Robert at this stage. Had Robert not been bound by the constraints of Victorian society, then he might have seduced Edna for it is clear that she is receptive.