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The Awakening

The Awakening


by Kate Chopin

Robert Lebrun Timeline and Summary

  • Robert walks with Edna up to her cottage.
  • The two sit down on the front steps near Edna’s husband, Mr. Pontellier.
  • Robert begins to talk and laugh with Edna about their adventures that afternoon.
  • When Mr. Pontellier invites Robert to the club, Robert refuses, saying that he’d rather stay with Edna.
  • Robert rolls a cigarette and smokes as he and Edna chat about their afternoon together. Robert talks about himself a lot, and mentions his intention to go to Mexico in the fall. Robert listens while Edna reads a letter from her sister out loud.
  • When Edna finally goes inside, Robert wanders off to entertain himself until dinner by playing with the Pontellier children, Raoul and Etienne.
  • Robert sits outside with Edna and Adele at Edna’s cottage. Adele sews clothes for her children.
  • Robert and Adele banter back and forth about which bonbon to choose from the box Edna’s husband has sent from New Orleans.
  • As evening draws near, Robert asks Edna if she plans to go swimming. She says no, but Robert convinces her to go. The two walk down to the beach.
  • Some days later, Robert joins Edna and Adele on the beach.
  • When they’re ready to leave, Adele asks Robert to accompany her back to her cottage.
  • During the walk, Adele tells Robert to leave Edna alone.
  • Robert asks if she is jealous.
  • Adele denies this, but reminds Robert that Edna is not Creole, and therefore likely to take his attentions seriously.
  • Robert gets upset and asks why she shouldn’t take him seriously?
  • Adele explains that if anyone thought his flirtations were serious, he wouldn’t be allowed to hang around other men’s wives.
  • Robert states that he is nothing like Alcee Arobin (the town bad boy). He finds it insulting that Adele would accuse him.
  • Robert tells a couple funny stories, and as the two of them start laughing, the subject is dropped.
  • Robert visits his mother. He sits by her as she sews on a noisy treadle sewing machine. The two of them briefly discuss a letter from a man named Montel, who wants Robert to join him in Mexico at the beginning of the next month.
  • Robert sees Edna approaching with her children, grabs a book that Edna wants borrow, and rushes outside in hopes of meeting her.
  • Robert attends the dinner party given at his mother’s house and dances with Edna.
  • Robert follows her out onto the porch.
  • Robert asks Edna if she would like to hear Mademoiselle Reisz play the piano. Edna replies in the affirmative, and Robert goes in search of Mademoiselle Reisz.
  • At the end of the party, Robert suggests that they all go for a swim.
  • Edna swims successfully for the first time. Robert follows her back to her cottage.
  • They talk and Robert tells her that on this day, a spirit rises up from the Gulf and seeks human company. Robert thinks Edna provided that company tonight.
  • When they reach Edna’s cottage, she lies down in the hammock.
  • Robert sits beside her, smoking a cigarette.
  • There is a lot of sexual tension, but they don’t act on it.
  • Robert leaves, thinking Edna has fallen asleep.
  • Robert goes with Edna on a boat to Cheniere.
  • On the boat he talks with Mariequita, a Spanish girl.
  • Mariequita tells a story about a man named Francisco who ran away with another man’s wife. Robert gets embarrassed and tells her to shut up, in a joking sort of way.
  • Robert holds his umbrella over Edna to shade her from the sun and they talk about what they’d like to do tomorrow and the next day.
  • When they get off the boat, they go to a Catholic church (Our Lady of Lourdes) for Mass.
  • During the service, Edna starts feeling faint. Robert takes her to Madame Antoine’s house so she can rest.
  • When Edna finally wakes up, he teases her, saying she has slept for one hundred years.
  • Robert informs her that everyone else has left, but that he will take her back home in Tonie’s boat.
  • He sits under an orange tree with her, and Madame Antoine sits there with them, or nearby, at least, telling stories.
  • When the moon comes up, Robert and Edna and Robert step into Tonie’s boat and head toward home.
  • Robert waits for Edna while she puts her children to bed.
  • When she comes back outside, Robert presses her hand meaningfully and goes away.
  • Robert announces to everyone at dinner that he is going to Mexico that very evening.
  • When Edna leaves, looking shocked, he goes to her cottage and sits on the porch.
  • Edna asks why he didn’t tell her sooner about Mexico, but he offers no explanation.
  • Edna tells him that she hoped they could see each other throughout the winter in New Orleans.
  • Robert blurts out that he was hoping for the same thing, and then gets up suddenly to leave.
  • He asks her not to forget him.
  • Robert writes letters from Mexico to his mother and to Mademoiselle Reisz, but not to Edna. He admits that he loves Edna and is trying to forget her.
  • Time passes. Robert writes another letter to Mademoiselle Reisz telling her that he is coming home.
  • More time passes. Robert goes to visit Mademoiselle Reisz, but when he arrives at the house, the only person there is Edna.
  • Robert admits that he’s been home since the day before yesterday.
  • Robert and Edna sit ten feet apart and talk politely to each other.
  • Edna asks him why he didn’t write to her. He says he didn’t think his letters would be of any interest to her.
  • She tells him that’s just an excuse.
  • When Robert sees she is about to leave, he offers to walk home with her.
  • When they arrive at her house, Edna invites him to stay for dinner. He does.
  • Robert sees Arobin’s photograph on the table, and is jealous when Edna tells him that she has been doing a sketch of Arobin.
  • Robert and Edna talk briefly about what they’ve been doing since they last saw each other, then sit quietly together until dinner is ready.
  • Robert and Edna eat dinner together.
  • Robert tells Edna a little bit about the Mexican woman who gave him the embroidered tobacco pouch that he now carries, but acts like the Mexican woman doesn’t mean anything to him.
  • When Arobin drops by, Robert and Arobin speak to each other politely, but after a few minutes, Robert shakes hands with Arobin and leaves.
  • Robert does not see Edna for several days. One afternoon, he bumps into her at a restaurant.
  • They eat together.
  • Robert feels uncomfortable because Edna presses him with personal questions.
  • After they eat, Robert walks her home. He goes inside with her.
  • Robert sits down. Edna kisses him.
  • Robert kisses her. Then he pulls her down beside him on the sofa and tells her that now she knows what he has been fighting against since last summer.
  • Robert admits his love for her and tells her that he was thinking about her all the time he was in Mexico. He says he went there in the first place because he had this wild dream that she could become his wife and he was trying to get over this notion.
  • Robert is afraid and shocked when Edna says, in essence, that she doesn’t want to belong to anyone.
  • Edna is summoned to Adele’s house for the birth of her baby. Robert kisses Edna passionately and begs her not to go, but she feels that she must, and asks Robert to stay there and wait for her until she comes back.
  • Robert writes a note saying, "I love you. Good-bye – because I love you," and leaves Edna’s house.