Chapter 15 Summary and Analysis
A few days later, Edna enters the dining room a little late and learns from several people at once that Robert is going away to Mexico and he is leaving for New Orleans that very evening. This comes as a surprise to her, and she shows it. Robert looks embarrassed and uneasy. He explains to everyone at the table, in a defensive voice, that he is going to meet someone in Vera Cruz and that he just decided that afternoon to go.
The lovers, as usual, speak only to each other. Everyone else is buzzing about the trip. Adele warns him about the Mexicans, whom she does not trust. Edna asks him what time he is leaving and then leaves the room.
She goes back to her cottage where she busies herself with little things and then tells the children a story. The little black girl comes by to invite Edna to Madame Lebrun’s to sit until Robert leaves, but Edna feigns illness. Adele stops by and Edna expresses her shock, with which Adele agrees. Then Adele leaves to join the group.
Robert finally stops by, and Edna berates him for not telling her of his plan. She tells him how she looks forward to seeing him and spending time together. Robert agrees and intimates that this is the reason he is leaving. He holds out his hand, and Edna clings to it, entreating him to write to her. Robert agrees and leaves rather stiffly. Edna tries to hold back her tears and her feelings, but she is forced to recognize her feelings of infatuation.
Discussion and Analysis
Robert’s announcement that he is leaving for Mexico takes Edna completely by surprise. Because she feels controlled by outside forces to some extent, she never thinks about the future. Additionally she is very self-absorbed. It does not occur to her that Robert might have plans of his own that don’t include her.
We see another side of Adele here. She is a beautiful mother-woman, but she is also a bigot and clearly not very intelligent. It is clear that her opinions come from somewhere outside her. This is just one of the characteristics of the mother-woman.
Edna refuses to go to the Lebruns because she is hurt and angry. She is experiencing a childish temper tantrum. Robert makes it clear that he is leaving because of what is happening between him and Edna. He is a man of honor, and if he cannot have her, then he wants to leave. Edna has no concept of what he is feeling. She cannot see past her own feelings, which she finally recognizes as infatuation of the type she used to feel before she married Leonce.