| Quote #1
It would have been a difficult matter for Mr. Pontellier to define to his own satisfaction or any one else's wherein his wife failed in her duty toward their children. It was something which he felt rather than perceived, and he never voiced the feeling without subsequent regret and ample atonement.
Edna is content to let the quadroon nurse shoulder the normal burdens of motherhood; while there is nothing untoward in her conduct, Mr. Pontellier feels uneasy about Edna’s mothering.
| Quote #2
She stood watching the fair woman walk down the long line of galleries with the grace and majesty which queens are sometimes supposed to possess. Her little ones ran to meet her. Two of them clung about her white skirts, the third she took from its nurse and with a thousand endearments bore it along in her own fond, encircling arms. Though, as everybody well knew, the doctor had forbidden her to lift so much as a pin! (5.24)
Edna rejects the beautiful, idealized vision of motherhood as embodied by Adele.
| Quote #3
She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them. The year before they had spent part of the summer with their grandmother Pontellier in Iberville. Feeling secure regarding their happiness and welfare, she did not miss them except with an occasional intense longing. Their absence was a sort of relief, though she did not admit this, even to herself. It seemed to free her of a responsibility which she had blindly assumed and for which Fate had not fitted her. (7.30)
Edna’s sons play a very minimal role in Edna’s life. Is she a bad mother?