“He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother’s place to look after children, whose on Earth was it?” (Chopin 7) In this quote, we see how Leonce is a symbol for the views of men in the Victorian Era. He does not believe Edna is doing hard work at all, nor does he believe that it is a man's job to take care of children. This shows the generational aspect of gender roles, since by children being so attached to their mothers and not being raised by their fathers, these children believe this is how their children should be raised; the patriarchy is cyclical throughout generations. “[Robert] kissed her with a degree of passion which had not before entered into his caress, and strained her to him… ‘I love you,’ she whispered, 'only you, no one but you. It was you who awoke me last summer out of a life-long, stupid dream'” (Chopin 86). Edna references her life up until this point as a dream. Not only does she evoke the title of the book by saying that Robert awoke her, but she shows the lack of passion in her relationship with Leonce. It is not just about sex to her; Robert makes her feel free, and her husband makes her feel trapped. “‘You made one mistake, Adele’, he said, with a light smile, ‘there is no earthly possibility of Mrs. Pontellier ever taking me seriously’” (Chopin 18). This quote is significant as it is Robert who is protesting to Adele that his fling with Edna is not serious and will never be serious, something that turns out to be false. In the end they fall for each other and the resulting feelings cause Robert to flee to Mexico, which leads to Edna becoming depressed when she arrives back home. Their summer fling allows for Edna to feel free for the first time and this quote becomes ironic after three more chapters.
“There was no despondency when she fell asleep that night; nor was there hope when she awoke in the morning” (Chopin 86). This quote is significant as it is the beginning of the end for Edna, Robert has left her once more and she can no longer find joy in her life. Everything is black and grey and it is here that we finally see her character break, before what kept her going was the hope that Robert would return but after he left her a second time she lost the man that she loves and life seems meaningless. Major Works Data Sheet Characters Name Role in the story Significance Adjectives Edna Pontellier Protagonist, Wife of Mr. Pontellier While Edna begins the book as a docile and obedient wife and mother, her emotions and passions are slowly awakened and she decides to finally prioritize her own self and well-being by redefining love in her own life. Poised, independent, Fond of music, American Leonce Pontellier Husband of Edna Leonce is very controlling, which contributes to Edna’s feelings of being restricted in society and in her marriage, leading to her pursuit of extramarital relationships.