This is a novel by Kate Chopin that got published in the year 1899. The story centers around Edna Pontellier and the struggles she undergoes between her antagonist views on motherhood and femininity about the social norms in the late 19th century in Southern America.
The Plot Synopsis
A young Edna Pontellier and her husband, Leonce Pontellier, spend their summer days at the Grand Isle. Leone is employed at a local hotel and loves gambling. Meanwhile, Edna spends her free time learning how to swim at the beach. There, she meets Robert Lebrun and Adele Ratignolle. Edna spends much time with Robert and eventually develops feelings for him. However, Adele warns Robert against flirting with Edna since she is different.
One day Robert suddenly departs for Mexico indefinitely. This incident disappoints Edna since Robert gave concise notice to both friends and his mother. Edna now finds it difficult to cope with life in Robert’s absence. The situation forces her to socialize with others and seeks consolation from Mademoiselle Reisz. Slowly, she gains her independence from family roles.
When the colonel, Edna’s father arrives in town, he calls her to her sister, Janet’s wedding ceremony but Edna declines. She claims weddings are full of melancholy. When Leonce leaves for a long business trip, Edna gets carried away by her soul. She now pursues her passions fearlessly.
Soon after, Edna decides to move out of their family home into a smaller home down the street. She throws a farewell party and invites all her friends. After the party, she has an illicit affair with Alcee Arobin. Even though she feels the guilt of unfaithfulness, she is only sorry for Robert, not Leonce.
Once Edna had moved into her new abode, she continues to pursue her interests and passions. However, she still misses Robert. She even goes to Mademoiselle one day to seek comfort. Surprisingly, she meets Robert at her home. Edna is extremely shocked because Robert came back without informing her. This leads to a quarrel that ends in the two lovebirds confessing their feelings for each other.
Adele is now in labor and has sent a servant to call Edna. When Edna receives the information, she tells Robert to wait for her. Adele reminds her not to forget her children. Meanwhile, Robert departs, leaving a farewell note. When Edna returns and finds the note, she becomes so heartbroken that the next day she walks into the ocean until she disappears.