Chapter 22 Summary and Analysis
Dr. Mandelet: good doctor who tries to help Edna
One morning Leonce decides to visit Dr. Mandelet, the family physician. He wants to talk about Edna, explaining that she is acting odd. He says that her whole attitude has changed and hints that they were no longer having sex. Dr. Mandelet inquires if Edna is spending time with a certain group of pseudointellectual women. Leonce explains that she has been isolated, not spending time with anyone. At this Dr. Mandelet grows concerned. Leonce tells him about Edna’s sister’s upcoming wedding and how Edna refuses to attend.
Dr. Mandelet advises Leonce to let Edna alone for a while, assuring him that this peculiarity would pass. He also agrees to come for dinner so he can observe Edna firsthand.
When Leonce leaves, Dr. Mandelet wonders to himself if there is another man in the picture.
Discussion and Analysis
Dr. Mandelet is clearly a wise man. He is “known more for his wisdom than his skill,” and his eyes “had lost none of their penetration.” However, he is still a man of his time and can understand only so much about Edna’s awakening. When Leonce first explained Edna’s strangeness, including that she refused to sleep with him, Dr. Mandelet thought she was mixed up with a group of “pseudointellectual women.” It is only when Leonce tells him that Edna has been isolating that Dr. Mandelet becomes worried. This was very unnatural for a society woman. But even then he attributes it to the “moody and whimsical” nature of women and advises Leonce to ignore it until it has passed.
Dr. Mandelet secretly does wonder if Edna is having an affair. He knows, however, that this is something unheard of in the Creole culture so he wisely keeps quiet about it.