Chapter 19 Summary and Analysis
Edna realizes that her outburst with the ring and vase had been childish and futile. Instead she begins to do and feel exactly as she pleases, including more painting. She completely abandons her Tuesday receptions and makes no efforts toward running the household. Leonce, who had always been courteous as long as Edna had been submissive, now grows angry at her insolence. He compares her to Adele, who keeps up with her music but also with all her responsibilities. Edna tells him to leave her alone, and he does. However he wonders if Edna is growing mentally unbalanced. He cannot see that she is actually becoming her true self.
Edna goes to her atelier at the top of the house to paint. She is working a lot, using everyone in the house as models. However none of her work satisfies her. Sometimes as she works she sings the song Robert had sung to her, and she would feel desire sweeping through her.
There are days when she is very happy, especially when she is alone and able to dream. There are also days when she is very unhappy and despairing, and she cannot work on those days.
Discussion and Analysis
Edna realizes the futility of her temper tantrums and finds a better way to express her displeasure with Leonce and her desires for herself; she will simply abandon her pretense of being a good wife and do exactly as she pleases.
Leonce, as earlier described, was a good husband by societal standards. We find out here that he was courteous only because Edna was submissive. Now that she is defying him he becomes angry and rude. However, this only serves to strengthen Edna’s resolve.
Leonce doesn’t understand Edna’s need to be alone in her atelier painting. He doesn’t equate it with his constant need to escape to the club because only he is allowed to have such needs. He believes all of Edna’s time should be spent on the advancement of her family’s welfare. He wants her to be more like Adele,...
(The entire section is 533 words.)