- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Edna's complete disinterest in her children and her marriage (and the possible pain that could cause her husband and children) are not expressed too deeply. Edna is portrayed as sympathetic and much in need of her awakening.
- Purity Sue: Adele Ratignolle is deliberately placed in this role, to be a foil to Edna's character. She is seen as the ideal Victorian wife and mother figure.
- Values Dissonance: Nowadays the book is barely as raunchy as your average YA novel (see G-Rated Sex), but back when it was published it was considered too inappropriate.
- On a second note, Edna's suicide is appearing to become interpreted as more selfish by today's students than in years past.
- Fridge Logic: Mallory drops a weird one while developing photographs with Florence
Mallory: When I was a lad, I'd huddle into my bed, wanting to see what was there, but too frightened [of the dark] to open my eyes. It's never darker than when we close our eyes, and yet we keep them shut. Why is that?