Why are Edna and Adèle friends in The Awakening?

Quick answer:

Edna and Adèle become friends at Grand Isle because of proximity, Adèle's pursuit of Edna, and finally Edna's attraction to Adèle's beauty and candor.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Edna and Adèle Ratignolle's friendship begins during their summer vacation at Grand Isle. We learn that

Madame Ratignolle was very fond of Mrs. Pontellier, and often she took her sewing and went over to sit with her in the afternoons.

With her golden blond hair, red lips, feminine clothing, and strong maternal instincts, Adèle is everything Edna is not, a conventional woman delighted to be a wife and mother. Edna's is first drawn to Adèle's "excessive physical charm," as she finds beauty a force that attracts her. A little later, she is attracted by Adèle's "candor," her open and frank ways. She is also shocked by them too, having grown up in a more repressed environment in Kentucky than is typical of Adèle's Creole background. For instance, in chapter 7, Edna is surprised when Adèle warmly takes her hand in response to something she is saying and holds it and strokes it. Edna has been not close to her sisters and is used to reserve, not warm expression of feeling.

Edna is also surprised at how frankly Adèle speaks of her pregnancy. At the same time, Adèle's openness draws her out, and she ends up confiding in her about running away from church and Presbyterian prayers one Sunday when she was a girl.

Proximity and accident, Adèle's pursuit of Edna's company, and finally Edna's attraction to Adèle's beauty and frankness of personality draw the two together as friends.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial