Throughout Kate Chopin’s masterpiece work the protagonist Edna Pontellier slowly undergoes her own very personal and private awakening. The nature of Edna's awakening stems from her feelings of being trapped forever in her societal roles of wife and mother. Edna, beginning with her infatuation with Robert Lebrun, slowly becomes consumed with her quest to regain her own self worth. Edna longs to live her life without the constraints of her societal duties, without her husband brooding over her as if she is one of his worldly possessions.
The two major roles and societal duties thrust upon her day after day are that of wife and mother. Throughout the story as Edna attempts to become more and more independent, these duties of wife and mother she allows to slip. The seeds of the beginnings of this slippage in her duties are planted in her summer in Grand Isle. Specifically, her realization of some deep inner thoughts occurs with the coming to understand and acknowledge her curiosity of her infatuation with Robert Lebrum. Along with her realization of her feelings for Robert she becomes increasingly aware that her husband does not satisfy her emotionally as a life partner.
Although Leonce Pontellier is a kindly and giving husband Edna’s love for Leonce is never really more than a fleeting infatuation.
Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of fate. It was in the midst of her secret great passion that she met him. He fell in love, as men are in the habit of doing, and pressed his suit with earnestness and an ardor which left nothing to be desired. He pleases her; his absolute devotion flattered her. She fancied there was sympathy of thought and taste between them, in which fancy she was mistaken. (Chopin 220)
Edna also goes on to explain her father and sister opposed the wedding and this