Edna started her vacation she was quite the private person, not
having any real experience of confiding in another living soul,
but the frank environment fostered by the Creoles has changed her.
openness is slowly rubbing off on Edna, and she now feels a sense
of liberation because she is able to reveal her innermost thoughts
to her close friend. Whilst Ad'le maintains her glamorous and stylish
image, Edna's dress fashion becomes more casual. Whilst Ad'le is
concerned at protecting her skin from the sun, Edna takes no such
day the two women walk along the beach arm-in-arm, and they sit
on the porch of Edna's bath-house. Edna is dressed in a simple muslin
frock and straw hat and looks very casual.
the lady in black appears very somber and presents a stark contrast.
reads some religious work and close-by two lovers cuddle underneath
the children's tent.
is surprised at her feelings of openness towards her friend. She
feels far closer to Ad'le than she ever felt towards her two sisters.
Her other childhood contemporaries were reserved, just as she, products
of their strict upbringing. She recalls how she would develop crushes
on men and this came to a sudden end when she married L'once. In
a way Edna welcomed her marriage because it would bring an end to
the silly fantasies she had for men that were clearly beyond her
Edna then ponders her relationship with her children, and that she somehow
resents their intrusion on her life.
Everyone in her close family assumed that she would fully take up the responsibilities of motherhood. Deep down she feels that she is not suited to be the type of mother that Ad'le is to her children.
Edna and Ad'le soak up the pleasant scene, but their intimacy is interrupted
by Robert. He has brought all the children with him, and they soon displace the young lover’s close-by, who seeks another solitary spot.
We sense that Edna regarded her infatuations for other men in her youth to
She was clearly concerned about these strong passions, and assumed that marriage would cure these fantasies. Up until now, this was the case, but she now experiences these emotions being rekindled. Her free spirit wishes to break free of her life as wife and mother.
Edna is already expressing her freedom by the way she dresses, and just as
she relaxes even more by exposing more of her skin to the sun, Chopin brings in the contrasting images of the woman in black being pious, and the two lovers being promiscuous.
These images represent two extremes that the archetypal Edna would travel between if she doesn’t break free.
She ponders the feelings she had before her marriage never thinking they
would now be reborn.
We are conscious that if she does not make a break for freedom she will be trapped in the plan laid out for her, and her final fate will be to be as the woman in black. Not only does the lady in black signify the declining years of women in society, but it is also a symbol of death and tragedy, which hangs over the storyline. Therefore, the young lovers and the lady in black stand for the initial and final stages in the life of a respectable Victorian woman.