Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Edna Pontellier (pohn-tehl-YAY), a sensitive, impressionable twenty-eight-year-old who feels out of place in the French-Creole society into which she has married. She has two small children whom she loves, although she feels temperamentally unsuited for the confining roles of wife and mother, which are the only roles available to women of her social class in the late nineteenth century. She has regarded sex as an unenjoyable if not actually unpleasant wifely duty and has been unaware of her repressed sexuality until the time that the novel opens. Her whole life is changed by her physical and psychological “awakening.”
Léonce Pontellier (lay-OHNS), Edna’s husband, who is forty years old, kind, and attentive, as well as being an exceptionally good provider for her and her two children. He is absorbed in business affairs, however, and prefers to associate with men. He is often smoking, drinking, and going off to play cards with cronies. He does not understand his wife; he regards her as a valuable possession, a sex object, and the mother of his children.
Adèle Ratignolle (ah-DEHL ra-tee-NYOHL), a beautiful young married woman who is Edna’s friend and confidante. She serves as a foil to Edna because she is...
(The entire section is 580 words.)
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