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The Awakening

The Awakening


by Kate Chopin

Leonce Pontellier Timeline and Summary

  • Leonce (otherwise referred to as Mr. Pontellier) is trying to read his newspaper. Interrupted by a noisy parrot, he takes his newspaper and marches off to find a more peaceful place to read.
  • He decides his own cottage is the best bet and settles down on the front porch in a rocking chair to give it another try.
  • Mr. Pontellier gazes out at the oak trees where several people are playing croquet, including his two young sons.
  • Mr. Pontellier lights a cigar and fastens his eyes on the sunshade that he sees approaching from the beach. Underneath the sunshade are his wife Edna and a young man named Robert Lebrun.
  • Mr. Pontellier comments on their sunburns.
  • Mr. Pontellier places Edna’s rings back on her fingers.
  • Mr. Pontellier states that he is going to Klein’s hotel (the club where he hangs out a lot) to play pool. He invites Robert to come along.
  • Mr. Pontellier tells Edna that she should send Robert away when he begins to bore her.
  • As Mr. Pontellier is walking away, his two sons run after him. They want to follow him to the club.
  • Mr. Pontellier tells them to stay put, promising bonbons and peanuts if they behave.
  • Mr. Pontellier comes home from the club around 11 p.m. Edna is already asleep.
  • Mr. Pontellier piles his money on the dresser and tries to talk to Edna as he undresses, but she is too sleepy to respond.
  • Mr. Pontellier feels discouraged that his wife doesn’t display more interest in his doings. Mr. Pontellier has forgotten the bonbons and peanuts for his young sons, but he goes in to check on them.
  • He returns to Edna convinced that Raoul has a high fever. He insists that she go check on him.
  • Mr. Pontellier lights a cigar and continues to insist that Edna get out of bed.
  • Afterwards, Mr. Pontellier lies down and goes straight to sleep.
  • In the morning, Mr. Pontellier goes off to his job in New Orleans. Before departing, he generously hands over half the money he won at the club the night before.
  • Mr. Pontellier attends the party at Madame Lebrun’s house and dances with Edna twice.
  • Afterwards, when they all go to the beach, Mr. Pontellier reassures Edna that he was watching while she swam, making sure that she was safe and not too far out.
  • Mr. Pontellier comes home to find Edna lying in the hammock. He suggests that she come inside, since it is past one in the morning. When she doesn’t follow his suggestion, he starts being authoritative, demanding that she go inside.
  • When Mr. Pontellier sees that she isn’t going to come, he goes back inside, gets a glass of wine and a few cigars and takes them outside. He offers Edna a glass of wine and when she refuses, he sits down beside her to drink his own, then smokes the cigars.
  • When Edna finally gets up to go into the house she asks Mr. Pontellier if he’s coming. He tells her he will go in as soon as he finishes his cigar.
  • After Robert leaves for Mexico, Mr. Pontellier asks Edna if she misses him. He shares stories about Robert.
  • Back in New Orleans, Mr. Pontellier sits at the dinner table and notices that Edna is wearing a house dress instead of her more formal clothing. Since it is a Tuesday, the day visitors come calling, he asks her what is going on.
  • Mr. Pontellier is horrified when Edna says she went out instead of receiving visitors. He says they can’t expect to flout convention like that; it will hurt his business concerns.
  • The food is not cooked to his satisfaction. Angry with Edna, he goes off to get his dinner at the club.
  • Mr. Pontellier asks Edna to accompany him to pick out new furnishings for their library, but she refuses.
  • Mr. Pontellier is bewildered and angered by Edna’s behavior. He decides that maybe Edna is becoming unbalanced mentally.
  • Mr. Pontellier visits their family physician, Doctor Mandelet. He discusses Edna’s behavior, hoping to get some advice.
  • The doctor recommends letting her do as she pleases. He says the strange behavior will pass.
  • Mr. Pontellier asks the doctor over for dinner so he can observe Edna for himself.
  • Edna’s father tells Mr. Pontellier to be more authoritative with Edna.
  • Mr. Pontellier goes off for a lengthy business trip to New York. He is trying to follow the doctor’s advice of letting Edna do as she likes, in hopes that this phase of hers will pass on its own.
  • When Mr. Pontellier receives the letter Edna sent telling him that she is planning to move, he immediately writes her back expressing his disapproval. Realizing that she’s probably going to do it anyway, he comes up with a plan to save their reputation.
  • Mr. Pontellier arranges with an architect to have work done on the big house. These renovations excuse Edna for living in the small house, so making her move appear less scandalous.
  • Mr. Pontellier writes a letter to Edna saying he will be home in early March.