Edna Pontellier has everything that a woman and mother should want – two wonderful sons, a husband, and good financial fortune. But still, she feels like something may be missing. While vacationing with her family, she meets a young man who shows affection and opens her mind to adventure and freedom.
Edna’s desire for freedom and independence begins to fester in her heart, and she finds that she is increasingly disenchanted with the responsibilities of motherhood. She begins to shirk responsibilities and live as she wants, rather than how society expects. Her journey towards independence is difficult and met with much opposition from all sides in her life, and she is torn between two conflicting worlds.
This collection also includes many of Kate Chopin’s short stories, which further expand on the themes of womanhood in the southern United States, Creole culture, religious skepticism, and female independence and intellectualism. The short stories included in this collection are “Beyond the Bayou,” “Ma’ame Pelagie,” “Desiree’s Baby,” “A Respectable Woman,” “The Kiss,” “A Pair of Silk Stockings,” “The Locket,” and “A Reflection.” These short stories demonstrate Kate Chopin’s lyrical and emotional writing abilities, and are staples of the Southern literature genre.