Summary and Analysis
Léonce visits an old family friend, Dr. Mandelet, seeking advice about Edna. Léonce reveals that she has abandoned her domestic and social duties, become moody, and has stopped having sex with him. Further, Edna is refusing to attend her sister's wedding, asserting that a wedding is a highly regrettable occasion. The doctor concludes that another man is probably the cause, a suspicion he does not share with Léonce. Instead, he advises Léonce to leave Edna alone to work the moodiness out of her system and promises to come to dinner to unobtrusively examine her.
In Chapter 5, Chopin notes that "the Creole husband is never jealous; with him the gangrene passion is one which has become dwarfed by disuse." Léonce himself testifies proudly to the doctor that he is "of that old Creole race of Pontelliers that dry up and finally blow away." In his family background are no deaths due to duels or heartbreak, no fatal crimes of passion that result in a romantic end. This background information explains Léonce's lack of perception as he outlines to Dr. Mandelet the behavior of a woman clearly in love with someone other than her husband. The doctor grasps the true nature of Edna's disinterest in society and sex but does not put forth his suspicion to Léonce. One outcome of such a suggestion might be Léonce confronting Edna about her romance, a confrontation for which the passionless Léonce is ill equipped. By advising him to "let her alone," the doctor hopes that the suspected affair will subside of its own volition.
en bon ami as a friend.
à Jeudi until Thursday.