The Awakening Leonce Pontellier
by Kate Chopin

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Leonce Pontellier

Léonce Pontellier is Edna’s husband. He displays a great inability to understand Edna and treats her as an object that must attend and love him while paying little attention to her own needs and interests. 

Léonce subscribes to typical gender roles, taking a sexist and misogynistic view of his wife and women’s roles in society. He believes that women are only meant to be mothers and caregivers for their husbands and children. Placing himself firmly in the public sphere, he tries to relegate Edna to the domestic sphere. In this paradigm, he is responsible for conducting business and making money, and Edna is responsible for the children and the rest of the household. Léonce is very business-minded and focused on his social status. He sees his marriage to Edna as more of a business transaction than a relationship based on love. 

When Edna embraces her individuality and grows into her new identity, Léonce believes that it is simply a symptom of mental instability; he does not view her as an individual who is able to make her own choices. Léonce worries what others might think of him when Edna starts to change her behavior.