The Awakening: Male Characters by Alexa Guilliot on Prezi
The Awakening study guide contains a biography of Kate Chopin, In this chapter Edna's friendship with Alcée Arobin begins to develop. Edna, the narrator makes the relationship between Arobin and Edna one of equality. Robert Lebrun; Alcée Arobin; Léonce Pontellier that the husband and wife have specific defined roles, and expects Edna The Relationship. Research essay sample on Mademoiselle Reisz Alcee Arobin custom essay the first six years of her marriage, Edna resisted Leonce's will in futile little ways.
He provides her with a lavish home, so she owes him her complete submission. The next morning Edna tries unsuccessfully to work on some sketches, so she visits Adele, whom she finds folding newly laundered clothing. Edna mentions that she wants to take drawing lessons as Adele admires her portfolio. Edna gives some sketches to Adele and stays for dinner.
Edna leaves their home feeling depressed because the Ratignolles enjoy a perfect domestic harmony that she does not even want for herself.
She pities their blind contentment. Edna discontinues her Tuesdays at homes and follows her whims and desires. Leonce is displeased that Edna is no longer submissive to his demands, and her neglect of her domestic duties angers him. He wonders if Edna suffers from some mental disturbance because she is not herself. However, Edna is only becoming the person she has always been.
She spends a great deal of time painting and walking about the streets. Edna decides to visit Mademoiselle Reisz, but she finds that she has moved. Lebrun, hoping that she has Mademoiselle Reisz's new address. Lebrun's younger son, answers the door.
He proceeds to relate a daring story about his exploits of the night before that entertains Edna despite herself. Lebrun remarks that she receives few visitors and that Victor has so much to occult him in New Orleans.
Victor directs a knowing wink at Edna. Edna tries to maintain a matronly expression of disapproval. Victor relates the contents of Roberts two letters from Mexico. Edna is depressed to find that Robert enclosed no message for her. Lebrun gives Edna Mademoiselle Reisz's address.
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Victor escorts her outside, and they exchange banter over his exploits. Mademoiselle Reisz mentions that Robert wrote her a letter that spoke only of Edna. Edna begs to see the letter, but Mademoiselle refuses. Edna asks her to play her piano instead.
Mademoiselle Reisz notes that it is late and asks Edna what time she must return home. Edna declares that time means nothing to her, so Mademoiselle asks her what she has been doing with her time.
Edna confesses that she has been painting because she is becoming an artist. Mademoiselle Reisz warns her that an artist must be brave, daring, and defiant. Edna persists in her request that Mademoiselle Reisz play for her and let her read Roberts letter and receives both favors. The music deeply affects Edna, and she weeps as she did before in the presence of the pianists talent.
She begs to visit Mademoiselle Reisz again, and the pianist tells her to come whenever the whim overtakes her. Leonce consults Doctor Mandelet, his friend and family physician. Leonce states that Edna is not her usual self, and she seems to be taken with the idea of the rights of women. The doctor asks if Edna has been associating with a circle of women claiming to be intellectuals, but Leonce replies that she no longer receives her callers on Tuesday.
Instead she wanders the streets alone until nightfall. Doctor Mandelet questions Leonce regarding Edna's family background. Leonce assures him that Edna descends from a respectable Presbyterian lineage, although her father lost his Kentucky holdings by running race horses. Her younger sister Janet is a vixen, but she is soon to be married, but Edna refuses to go because she considers weddings a lamentable spectacle. The doctor states that women are moody and eccentric by nature.
He assures Leonce that she will eventually return to normal once the whim has run its course. He promises to attend dinner at the Pontellier home in order to study Edna inconspicuously. Before he departs, Leonce tells the doctor that he will soon be making a prolonged business trip to New York and asks if he should take his wife. The doctor replies that he should let Edna decide.
Doctor Mandelet does not ask if Edna's condition involves another man because it would be improper. The growing contrast between Edna and Adele becomes apparent when Edna visits Adele.
As usual, Adele is occupied with some domestic duty. Edna asks for her opinion of her sketches, but she knows that Adele's opinion means nothing because Adele always says the right thing.
Edna wants to hear some encouraging praise because she wishes to pursue art seriously. She can count on Adele to say something nice about her work. Edna's decision to pursue art seriously is a rebellion against the conventional standards for Victorian womens education.
The average art education for Victorian women was meant to teach proficiency, not to refine talent. Adele, the feminine Victorian ideal, retains her musical skill to further serve her domestic role, not for her own enjoyment.
She arranges musical soirees to establish social relations, not for art appreciation per se. The contrast between Adele and Edna heightens during dinner.
Adele is completely subservient to her husbands opinion. When he speaks, she gives her complete attention, even to the point of laying down her fork to hear him better. The Ratignolles enjoy what Edna considers a blind contentment. However, Edna does not think they fully experience life because they do no see beyond the narrow confines of conventionality. Edna prefers the wild, erratic range of her emotions to their blind ignorance. Leonce remarks that Edna's time would be better spent contriving for the comfort of her family rather than painting in the atelier upstairs.
He remarks that Adele pursues her musical interests by arranging numerous soirees, but she does not slacken in her attention to domestic duties. The implication is that Leonce regards Edna's comfort as far less important than the family's comfort. He regards her interests as less important than dinner being served on time. Again, his belief that Edna is the sole object of his existence is ironic considering that he continually places Edna's interests beneath those of himself and the children.
If Edna is so important to the health of the family, it would make sense to be more concerned with her feelings and desires. Leonce thinks that Edna is not herself. However, Leonce is blinded by conventional views of womens behavior, so he does not realize that Edna is beginning to act according to the identity that she has always had. Edna is gradually discarding the false self that she assumed like a garment with which to appear before the world.
It is especially significant that Edna refers to the conventional social identity forced on women in terms of clothing. Throughout The Awakening Edna discards more layers of clothing as she increases her rebellion against the restrictive standards for feminine behavior.
As Edna grows more distant from Adele, she grows closer to Mademoiselle Reisz. Mademoiselle Reisz does not conform to the social standards for women. She studies music for her own enjoyment, and she supports herself financially.
Through her relationship with the pianist, Edna is able to further achieve self-realization by sharing artistic interests. It is also through this relationship that Edna can establish a kind of relationship to Robert. The pianist is the only person to whom he speaks of Edna, and Edna is able to read his letters. Everyone else in Edna's social circle conforms to conventional standards, so there is no possibility of any dialogue about her attraction to Robert.
Leonce considers Edna's unconventional behavior evidence of a mental illness. During the Victorian era, a woman who wanted to act and think freely was often considered mentally ill. Doctor Mandelet seems to be more enlightened than Leonce in some respects. He advises Leonce to allow Edna to do as she wishes.
However, his advice seems to say that Leonce should humor Edna as one would humor a willful child. It is unclear whether Doctor Mandelet means to humor Leonce into putting an end to his harassment of Edna by appealing to Leonce's prejudices. Edna s father, the Colonel, stays for a few days in New Orleans to select a wedding gift for Janet and to purchase a suit for the wedding.
The Colonel retains a certain military air from his days in the service of the Confederacy. Edna's two sons seem to annoy him. Edna takes him to one of Adele's musical soirees, and Adele captivates him with her skilled application of flattering flirtations. Leonce declines to attend because he prefers the company he finds at his club.
Adele remarks to Edna that Leonce should spend more time at home in the evenings. Edna serves her father hand and foot because he interests her, but she knows he will soon cease to do so. Doctor Mandelet takes dinner at the Pontellier home, but he notices nothing in Edna's behavior to arouse concern. Everyone takes turns telling stories for entertainment. The doctor relates the tale of a woman whose affections stray, but eventually return to the proper source.
Edna responds with a story of a woman who runs away forever with her lover. The doctor is the only person who perceives the secret emotions behind it. During his walk home, he muses to himself, I hope to heaven it isnt Alcee Arobin. Edna and the Colonel engage in a heated argument over her refusal to attend Janet's wedding, but Leonce does not intervene.
Leonce resolves to attend the wedding in order to deflect the insult of Edna's absence. The Colonel criticizes Leonce's lack of authoritative control over Edna. As Leonce's departure for New York approaches, Edna becomes attentive and affectionate, and she even sheds a few tears when the day arrives. However, she becomes peaceful and satisfied when he leaves. Leonce's mother, Madame Pontellier, takes Raoul and Etienne to her home in the country for a while.
Edna takes to dining alone in her nightgown. Edna attends the races with Alcee Arobin and Mrs. High camp, a member of Edna's social circle. Alcee takes to Edna right away. Edna's company at the races is highly appreciated by her friends because of her extensive knowledge about race horses. She gambles very successfully at the races. Alcee escorts Edna home after dinner. He persuades her to attend the races with him again. Edna is restless after he leaves and regrets not asking him to stay for a while.
Alcee and Edna attend the races alone. They become easy and familiar with one another because Alcee does not care for the formal stage of building an acquaintance with an attractive young woman. He stays for dinner with Edna afterwards.
His familiar way with her makes Edna nervous, so he begs her pardon, but kisses her hand and heightens her discomfort. Edna is attracted to Alcee, but she feels that she is being led to an act of infidelity. However, she thinks of Robert as the betrayed party, not Leonce. Alcee writes an elaborate letter of apology. Edna responds with light banter, and they begin spending a good deal of time together.
He resumes a level of familiarity that sometimes raises a blush on Edna's cheeks. Edna continues to visit Mademoiselle Reisz in moments of emotional turmoil.
During one such visit, Edna announces that she is moving out of her house since it is too much trouble to manage and she does not feel as if it is really hers.
She wants to rent a small house around the block. She plans to pay for it with her winnings and from selling her sketches. Her drawing teacher has told her that her skill is growing more polished. Edna vaguely understands that she wants to own herself rather than belonging to another.
As usual, Mademoiselle Reisz gives Edna Roberts latest letter and proceeds to play her piano. She states that Robert does not write Edna because he is in love with her. He is trying to forget her because she is not free to listen to him or belong to him. Edna discovers from the letter than Robert is returning to New Orleans soon. During the heated discussion about the nature of love that follows, Edna admits that she is in love with Robert. Edna returns home full of excitement. She sends a box of bonbons to her children and writes a bright, cheerful letter to Leonce stating her intention to move into the smaller house.
While Edna's father visits, she serves him hand and foot. He interests her, but her relationship with him still conforms to the servant and master structure that governs womens relations to men. In a sense, during the Colonels stay, Edna belongs to him.
When Edna takes him to one of Adele's musical soirees, Adele plays the perfect hostess which basically amounts to petting his masculine ego. Doctor Mandelet observes Edna during his in Leonce's home and decides that nothing is wrong with her because she serves her father with devotion and looks happy in doing so. In short, she seems to conform perfectly to conventional standards of behavior, represented by Adele, by serving a masculine authority in her life. Doctor Mandelet joins in the story-telling by relating the experiences of a woman whose affections stray before eventually returning to their proper object.
From the moment that Leonce consulted him, the doctor has suspected that Edna is in love with another man. His story is a diagnostic tool as well as a subtle suggestion to Edna to think about her actions. His suspicions are confirmed when Edna responds with an incredibly detailed, captivating tale of a woman who runs away with her lover forever. No one else at the dinner recognizes the significance of Edna's tale.
Edna lies when she explains that someone else told her the story, so her tale is clearly a wishful fantasy about Robert. Doctor Mandelet chooses not to become involved in the matter and hopes that Edna is not in love with Alcee Arobin, the local Don Juan. When Leonce leaves for New York and his two sons leave to visit his mother, Edna begins dining in her nightgown.
Once again, she rebels against conventional standards of dress when she lessens her devotion to conventional feminine duties. However, she falls into the company of Alcee Arobin who enjoys making conquests of married women. It is not fair to say that Alcee merely takes advantage of Edna.
When he kisses her hand, his action repels the old, vanishing self in her. Edna has still not discarded the conventional identity against which she rebels.
His kiss also awakens the sensuous sensibilities in her, so she is not entirely against his advances. He awakens greater consciousness of her physical desires.
Unlike her relationship with Robert, Edna's relationship with Alcee is clearly more about physical attraction than anything else. If Alcee is guilty of anything it is not respecting the fact that Edna has conflicting feelings about his physical advances. He writes an elaborate letter of apology for kissing her hand.
However, he does not really mean to apologize. Edna cannot ignore his letter because then she gives undue emphasis to his actions. If she writes a serious response, she would imply that she is susceptible to his advances. She replies with light banter, and this gives Alcee the opportunity to pursue her company further.
He presents himself at her home and assumes an attitude of familiarity and intimacy with her. Edna decides to move to another house because she does not consider Leonce's home her home. She prefers to stop accepting the benefits of his wealth because it gives him a claim on her.
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She plans to pay for the smaller house with her own money. She can then attend the housekeeping or not according to her own desires without facing Leonce's reproach. Moreover, she is tired of being treated like the possession of another. Mademoiselle Reisz's explanation of Roberts failure to write to Edna revives the earlier hints that Roberts love is colored with the same notions of possession as Edna's marriage.
She states that Robert loves her. He wants to forget her because Edna is not free to listen to him for to belong to him. Robert does not choose to remain silent because he fears Edna does not return his love, but because he cannot claim ownership of her. For a man, even Robert, loving a woman means owning her as his property.
Mademoiselle Reisz's language also names Edna's marriage to Leonce as a form of imprisonment. She is not free because she is married.
The symbol of the caged bird to represent the married woman is significant in this passage. Edna has chosen to leave the gilded cage of Leonce's home for a space of her own. Later that evening, Edna states to Alcee that she does not know what kind of woman she is.
By conventional standards, she is a devilishly wicked, but she cannot think of herself that way. Alcee caresses her face. Earlier in the evening, Mademoiselle Reisz felt her shoulder blades and warned Edna that the bird that attempts to fly above tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. She added that the birds that fall back to earth, battered and bruised, are sad spectacles. She asked Edna where she wanted to fly. Alcee kisses Edna, and she responds to his overture with passionate desire.
After he leaves, Edna weeps because of conflicting emotions. She does not feel ashamed or remorseful. She fears Leonce s reproach, but the thought of Robert s reproach bothers her more. She regrets that her kiss with Alcee was not motivated by love. Edna prepares for her move to the other house, gathering only the possessions that Leonce did not buy for her. With her own money, she purchases what she needs to adequately supply her new household.
One of Edna's servants calls her new home the pigeon house because it is small and looks like one. When Alcee visits her, he finds her dressed in an old dress and a handkerchief, making preparations for her move. Edna invites Alcee to a dinner celebration in the big house the day before her move. He begs to see her sooner, but she remains firm. The dinner is a small affair. It is Edna's twenty-ninth birthday. She proposes that they drink to her health with a cocktail invented by the Colonel to commemorate Janet s wedding.
Alcee proposes that they drink to the Colonels health with the cocktail because Edna is the daughter he invented. In her magnificent gown, Edna exudes the essence of a woman who rules, who looks on, who stands alone.
However, she is overtaken with boredom and hopelessness. She longs for Roberts company. Someone begs Victor Lebrun to sing. Looking directly at Edna, he begins a song that Edna remembers as a favorite of Roberts. Edna orders him to stop. Victor, for whatever reason, continues. She clasps her hand over his mouth and repeats her demand. He agrees, and the guests sense that they should leave.
Alcee assists Edna in shutting up the big house and accompanies her to the pigeon house. She finds the house full of flowers that Alcee arranged as a surprise. He makes a point of saying goodnight, but he covers her shoulder with kisses and succeeds in spending the night with her.
Leonce writes a letter of stern disapproval for Edna's move. He does not fear a scandal, but rather that people will think he has suffered financial difficulties. To head off these suspicions, he arranges to have his home remodeled by a respected architect.
In a newspaper, he advertises his intention to take a vacation in Europe with Edna while the remodeling is under way. Edna visits her children at their grandmothers country home and enjoys herself immensely.
Adele visits and complains that Edna has neglected her. She advises Edna to take caution while living alone in the little house. There is gossip about Alcee visiting her. A stream of callers unsettles Edna's peace, so she decides to visit Mademoiselle Reisz. The pianist is not at home, so Edna enters her apartment to wait for her. Robert drops in for a visit, reviving anew her agitated emotions towards him. She learns that he returned two days earlier. Edna doubts his love because he did not visit her right away.
She asks why he broke his promise to write her, and he replies that he never thought his letters would interest her. She hints that he lies and proceeds to leave Mademoiselle Reisz's apartment. Robert walks Edna home. Under concerted pressure, he agrees to stay for dinner. Robert discovers a photograph of Alcee, but Edna says she kept it as a study for a sketch.
She states that Alcee is a friend of hers, and changes the subject to Roberts experiences in Mexico. Mademoiselle uses wings as a metaphor for Edna's decision to defy social conventions.
She warns Edna that her wings must be strong enough to withstand the consequences of defiance. When she asks where Edna wants to soar, she means to ask Edna if she is sure that she can escape her gilded cage. If she fails, she will become one of the sad spectacles of the birds who fail. During her conversation with Alcee, Edna directly voices her desire for self- realization. She wants to become more acquainted with herself, but she cannot do so within the constraints of social conventions.
By those standards, she is wicked, but she cannot interpret her desire for an independent identity as a wicked endeavor. Alcee becomes peevish at her philosophical meandering because he wants her to play the role of the infatuated woman. Clearly, Alcee is used to having the upper hand in his relationships with women.
He looks at them as pleasurable conquests. Edna's self-directed activities frustrate his attempts to make her a conquest. For all its flaws, Edna's relationship with Alcee allows her to explore her sexuality. His kiss awakens her physical desire, and she responds to it with passion. However, their purely physical relationship fails to satisfy her, so clearly, Edna will eventually outgrow it.
If anything, Alcee is a convenient substitute for Robert now that Edna has finally admitted that she loves him. Edna declared that she would never again be the possession of another. Her incipient affair with Alcee is her first relationship with a man that is not structured by possession.
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When he finds her in a frenzy of preparation for her move, she will not agree to see him at his convenience, but at hers. Moreover, he does not find her languishing, reproachful, or indulging in sentimental tears as he is used to finding the women he has conquered.
Clearly, Edna does not allow her affair to consume her life. She continues to pursue self knowledge and independence outside her relationship with him. Following her decision to move to a her own house, Edna again sheds another layer of clothing. During her preparations for her move, she wears an old gown and a handkerchief. She calls her house the pigeon house.
Considering the symbolic importance of birds in the novel, the name Edna chooses for her house also has symbolic meaning.
She has chosen to fly above tradition and prejudice. Her new home is not a gilded cage, but the expression of her quest for independence. Leonce's reaction to Edna's decision to move again reveals his self-centered concerns. He does not worry about Edna's feelings, but about his own financial integrity. His belief that Edna is the sole object of his existence is again ironic considering that he cares more about how Edna's actions affect him.
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He does not consider that his own behavior might be partly responsible for her decision. Furthermore, he takes a long business trip to attend to his financial interests even though he consulted a doctor regarding Edna's behavior shortly before his departure. If he is so worried about Edna's mental health, why does he place his money before her?
Adele does not attend Edna's party because she is in the advanced stages of pregnancy. Moreover, when she visits Edna to have a look at her new lodgings, she avoids roads that are too public. As Adele pregnancy advances, she becomes more confined to her home. Her increasing confinement also contrasts with Edna increasing independence. Chopin clearly means to demonstrate the imprisoning nature of motherhood as it is defined by Victorian social conventions. When Robert accompanies her to her pigeon house, he remarks, I never knew you in your home.
Edna hopes that her independence from her husband will allow her to pursue a relationship with him. She interprets his statement to mean that he will cease to relate to her as a society housewife.
However, the fact that he even mentions her old life demonstrates that he still views her as the property of another man. Even though Edna has moved, he still views the big house as her true home.
Meanwhile, Alcee makes a call on Edna. He and Robert greet one another and make small talk about Mexican women. Robert takes his leave of Edna and leaves her alone with Alcee.
He asks Edna to go out for a nighttime drive, but she states her preference for being alone for the rest of the evening. Edna occupies her time thinking over her encounter with Robert. The next morning Edna awakes with hope. She is convinced that Robert will eventually admit his love for her.
She reads letters from Raoul and Leonce at breakfast. Leonce says he plans to return in March and promises to take her on a vacation to Europe. Alcee sends a note declaring his devotion for her. Edna writes a letter to Leonce that neither lies about her activities nor tells the truth about them.
Days pass and Robert does not come to see her. She spends more time in Alcee's company instead because she does not want to seek out Roberts company too eagerly. Edna meets Robert by accident in her favorite garden in the suburbs of New Orleans.
Robert reacts with uneasiness and surprise at the unexpected encounter. He consents to share the dinner she has brought for herself and accompanies her back to the pigeon house. He sits in a chair while she retires to wash her face and hands. When she returns to the room, she kisses him and moves away.
In response, he takes her into his arms and holds her. He confesses that his trip to Mexico was an attempt to fight his love for her. In Mexico, he fantasized that she could become his wife if Leonce set her free. Edna declares that she is no longer one of Leonce's possessions and that she will give herself to whom she pleases. Edna's servant interrupts them to tell Edna that Adele is in labor and requests her company. She declines Roberts offer to accompany her. She declares that she loves him alone and asks him to wait for her return from Adele's house.
Edna finds Adele in a state of irritable humor. She begins to feel uneasy. She remembers her own childbirth experiences in a vague, undefined way. She wants to leave, but she stays behind to witness what she now considers a scene of Natures torture. Later in the evening, when she kisses Adele good-bye, Adele whispers earnestly, Think of the children, Edna. Oh think of the children! Doctor Mandelet walks Edna to the pigeon house.
He remarks that Adele is full of whims at such times and that it was cruel to make her stay. There are other, less impressionable women who could have come. He asks if she will go to Europe for the summer. She replies that she will not because she refuses to be forced into anything anymore. Perhaps only children have the right, but even then she is not sure. Doctor Mandelet remarks that Nature does not consider the moral consequences of the situations it creates.
He assures her that he is willing to hear her confidences should she want to relate her troubles to him. Edna responds that she does not like to speak of her troubles. She does not mind insulting the prejudices of others, but she does not want to ruin the little lives.
Edna finds her pigeon house empty. Robert left a note stating that he must say good- bye because he loves her. She stays awake for the whole night. The next day, she travels to the Grand Isle and walks to the beach. She does not care that Leonce will be hurt by her infidelity, but the thought of her sons pangs her deeply.
She regards them as the chains that bind her to a form of slavery she detests. She spies a bird with a broken wing flying erratically before crashing into the surf. She enters the bathroom to put on her bathing suit. Once she reaches the water, she discards it and stands naked in the open air.
She swims out without a glance backward. Eventually exhaustion overtakes her and she drowns. Even though Robert continues to avoid her, Edna does not devote herself to pining away for him. She continues with her artistic endeavors, and she does not expressly seek him out. She certainly suffers some emotional turmoil because of his absence from her life, but her feelings for him do not rule her life. Furthermore, she maintains her affair with Alcee.
After Alcee meets Robert in Edna's new home, he sends her a note declaring his total devotion, and states that he trusts that she returns the sentiment. It seems that Alcee senses a rival in Robert, and he wants some sign from Edna of his right of possession over her. Although Alcee does not necessarily love Edna, he still seems to think that their affair grants him some claim to her.
Meanwhile, Edna continues to increase her independence. She visits a picture dealer to sell some of her sketches. Before, Edna's drawing master sold her work, but Edna negotiates her own business as an artist. Clearly, Edna has ceased to think of herself in terms of who owns her. Therefore, Roberts declaration of love for her is another rude awakening. He says that he fantasized that she would become his wife if Leonce set her free.
Robert views Edna as a caged bird that Leonce must set free despite Edna's obvious actions to secure her own independence. Robert continues to view his love through the structures of possession. He does not tell her, I fantasized that you would marry me. He says, I fantasized that you would become my wife. Edna declares that she belongs to herself, she can give herself to whom she pleases. Edna does not see the consummation of her desire for Robert as a transaction that will take place between Robert and Leonce, but one that takes place between her and Robert.
Robert does not see it this way. Robert refuses to enter into a relationship with Edna because he refuses to treat her as an independent individual. Social conventions will not allow Edna to be a mother to her children without effacing her independent identity.
Therefore Edna makes the choice she described to Adele at the beach the summer before. She said she would sacrifice her life for her children, but she would not sacrifice herself for them. Many critics interpret Edna's suicide as the result of her despair over her failed attempt to enter into a relationship with Robert. However, it seems that she commits suicide because she realizes how narrow the chances are of ever achieving recognition as an independent individual.
Throughout the novel, Edna seeks independence. There was a perpetual smile in his eyes, which seldom failed to awaken a corresponding cheerfulness in any one who looked into them and listened to his good-humored voice. He reminds her of when she was a young woman, full of hope, excited by the unknown future, and quick to fall in love--or at least into infatuation--with the first handsome stranger. But Edna is now a housewife.
She married young, as women of her era and class were expected to do, and she became a mother. She had assumed the role that society had assigned to her. Now there was nothing left but to play out her part to the end.
This life bored her. Alcee, with his glamorous lifestyle, wicked grin, and fashionable connections, was a refreshing break from the monotony.
His attentions flattered her. They woke her up. They made her feel alive. Chopin writes, 'He had detected the latent sensuality, which unfolded under his delicate sense of her nature's requirements like a torpid, torrid sensitive blossom.
Edna truly does experience an awakening, both of her individuality and her sexuality. The fear of women's sexuality is about as old as Western civilization itself. It has long been seen as this wild, unpredictable force. Women's desire, in the context of the novel, had to be tightly regulated, monitored, and constrained. A sexual woman is rife for physical, moral, and psychological breakdown.
Her appetites threaten to drain her partner of his vital energy.