by Kate Chopin
The Awakening Love Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"If I were young and in love with a man," said Mademoiselle, turning on the stool and pressing her wiry hands between her knees as she looked down at Edna, who sat on the floor holding the letter, "it seems to me he would have to be some grand esprit; a man with lofty aims and ability to reach them; one who stood high enough to attract the notice of his fellow-men. It seems to me if I were young and in love I should never deem a man of ordinary caliber worthy of my devotion." (26.33)
No wonder Mademoiselle Reisz never married. She has extremely specific criteria for a potential mate. Moreover, this passage suggests that she sees herself as similar to Edna.
"Why?" asked her companion. "Why do you love him when you ought not to?"
Edna, with a motion or two, dragged herself on her knees before Mademoiselle Reisz, who took the glowing face between her two hands.
"Why? Because his hair is brown and grows away from his temples; because he opens and shuts his eyes, and his nose is a little out of drawing; because he has two lips and a square chin, and a little finger which he can't straighten from having played baseball too energetically in his youth. Because--"
"Because you do, in short," laughed Mademoiselle. "What will you do when he comes back?" she asked.
"Do? Nothing, except feel glad and happy to be alive." (26.37-41)
Edna acknowledges the insensibility of her love for Robert. She can’t even think past the idea of him being back in New Orleans. This bears all the hallmarks of infatuation rather than love.
Meanwhile Robert, addressing Mrs. Pontellier, continued to tell of his one time hopeless passion for Madame Ratignolle; of sleepless nights, of consuming flames till the very sea sizzled when he took his daily plunge. While the lady at the needle kept up a little running, contemptuous comment:
"Blagueur--farceur--gros bete, va!"
He never assumed this seriocomic tone when alone with Mrs. Pontellier. She never knew precisely what to make of it; at that moment it was impossible for her to guess how much of it was jest and what proportion was earnest. It was understood that he had often spoken words of love to Madame Ratignolle, without any thought of being taken seriously. Mrs. Pontellier was glad he had not assumed a similar role toward herself. It would have been unacceptable and annoying. (5.9 – 5.11)
Because Robert never assumes the "seriocomic tone" with Mrs. Pontellier that he does with Madame Ratignolle, he really does harbor true feelings for Edna.