Chapter 17 Summary

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Last Updated April 18, 2023.

The setting has now shifted to New Orleans, where the Pontelliers' residence on Esplanade Street is depicted as being exceptionally exquisite and lavish. Leonce derives great enjoyment from strolling around the house and relishing in his belongings and furnishings.

For six years since her wedding, Edna has designated Tuesdays as a day to receive visitors. Throughout the afternoon, women frequently come to visit her, and sometimes their husbands join them in the evenings. However, several weeks after returning to the city, Leonce observes that during dinner on a Tuesday night, Edna is wearing a casual housedress instead of her usual reception dress. When he asks about it, she explains that she had been out all day and wasn't at home to receive visitors.

Leonce scolds Edna, reminding her of the need to follow societal norms. He then requests to see the remaining cards to determine who had called. As he reads each name, he offers his thoughts on each person. He becomes upset when he realizes that one of the women's husbands is a wealthy man whom he is hesitant to offend.

Edna becomes angry, and Leonce attributes the poor quality of the food to her lack of attention to the cook, and departs to dine at the club. This type of altercation was not uncommon for the couple, but Edna's response is unique. She decides to eat alone and then retires to her room without acknowledging the cook.

After arriving in her room, Edna positions herself by the open window and gazes at the garden beneath her, which appears enigmatic. She reflects on her quest for self-discovery, but her lack of optimism leaves her feeling frustrated. This frustration leads her to rip apart her handkerchief and discard her wedding ring by throwing it down and stepping on it. Additionally, she breaks a glass vase, compelled to destroy something.

After hearing a commotion, a female servant enters the room, and Edna clarifies that the vase has toppled over. The maid notices Edna's ring on the ground and gives it to her, and Edna then puts the ring back on her finger.

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Chapter 16 Summary

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Chapter 18 Summary