In this chapter, it becomes evident that Edna Pontellier is "different from the crowd." She is not, for example, accustomed to confiding in people. In fact, even as a child, she understood "the dual life —that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions." Being at Grand Isle begins to erode her reserve. In addition, even her body is different from the "feminine and matronly figure" apparently preferred by her community, but it is beautiful and graceful nonetheless. Symbolically, though, Edna is somewhat "other" here, among these Creoles.
Edna describes her feeling of "aimless[ness]" and "unguided[ness]" this summer, similar to how she felt as a child. Adele holds Edna's hand and begins to "stroke it a little, fondly." This
action was at first a little confusing to Edna, but she soon lent herself readily to the Creole's gentle caress. She was not accustomed to an outward and spoken expression of affection, either in herself or in others.
We get the sense, then, that Edna is in—forgive the word choice—uncharted waters. She is not used to confiding in others, and she is not accustomed to affection; her time in Grand Isle pushes her out of her comfort zone in many different ways, and this renders her a bit uncomfortable and unpredictable. The narrator says that
She had put her head down on Madame Ratignolle's shoulder. She was flushed and felt intoxicated with the sound of her own voice and the unaccustomed taste of candor. It muddled her like wine, or like a first breath of freedom.
The physical affection and openness encouraged with this group of Creoles is so unfamiliar, and it is pleasing in some ways while somewhat dangerous in others. She feels "muddled" and "intoxicated," as though she might make decisions that run counter to her typical, traditional choices.