Edna has both an outside life and an inside life, and she doesn’t let the Inner Edna out very often. In other words, she’s a bit shy and reserved.
Adele is gradually changing this situation.
While the language in this chapter may seem to imply a romantic relationship, the two women are simply very good friends.
Edna and Adele go off to the beach together. Edna wears a white and brown dress and a straw hat, and Adele wears a pure white ruffled dress that flutters in the wind.
Edna and Adele sit on the beach together and look around at their surroundings.
Two young, unnamed lovers sit nearby. (We see this same pair of lovers from time to time throughout the book.)
Edna opens the collar of her dress, revealing a little skin, and fans herself.
Edna and Adele talk.
Edna recalls a time in Kentucky (where she grew up), when she walked through a big field of grass on a summer day.
She remembers how the grass was higher than her waist, and she comments that it felt like she was swimming, as she threw up her arms to push back the grass.
Edna says that she has been experiencing a similar feeling this summer.
Adele strokes Edna’s hand in a show of sympathy.
This touch of Adele’s hand awakens another memory in Edna – she thinks about a cavalry officer she was once infatuated with, and about another gentleman she had liked, but was already engaged to be married.
And then she remembers an actor, whose picture she kept on her desk. She calls this man "a great tragedian."
She tells Adele about then meeting Leonce (Mr. Pontellier).
He fell in love with her and seemed devoted to her, but the real turn-on were the objections of Edna’s parents. (They disapproved of Leonce’s Catholicism.)
Edna reflects that marriage made her fond of Leonce, but that there’s no real passion between them.
At the same time, however, she doesn’t really expect passion in her marriage. She thinks of marriage as reality, while her previous crushes belong to an unreal fantasy world. Usually she keeps these sorts of thoughts inside, but on this occasion, she reveals some of her emotions to Adele and feels intoxicated with the daring of her own openness.
At this point, Robert shows up, along with both Edna and Adele’s children.
Adele says she doesn’t feel well and begs Robert to walk her back to her cottage.