Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening” examines the implications placed on women for self expression during the 1800’s. Banned for several years by critics after its initial publication in 1899 because of its unsettling content, “The Awakening” later became a most cherished account of a woman’s journey towards self-discovery and abandonment of her conventional society. (Kester-Shelton) Within that story is where we meet Robert LeBrun, A young, flirtatious and confident womanizer with a reputation to match and it is within this paper, that we will analyze the influential character of Robert LeBrun who without control, falls in a forbidden love affair with the protagonist, Edna Pontellier.
Robert, a younger man with immature tendencies, clean shaven face, yellowish-brown hair, and quick bright eyes maintains a reputation for floating in between different older women every summer. Eventually his affectionate nature catches the attention of Mrs. Edna Pontellier, triggering her to go through a series of epiphanies or so-called awakenings where she begins the struggle between the woman her society expects her to be and the independent, self-governing woman she craves. Robert, sifting his way in between dynamic and static characteristics, plays a significant role in those epiphanies because what begins as an innocent friendship turns into a forbidden love affair where Robert shows Edna a kind of love she had never seen from any other man, even in her own marriage to Mr. Pontellier. Even though Robert did possess such a reputation of being a womanizer he really does harbor true feelings of love for Edna. This is seen in the comparison of Robert’s feelings for Edna versus her close friend, Madame Ratignolle. “ Meanwhile Robert, addressing Mrs. Pontellier, continued to tell one of his onetime hopeless passion for Madame Ratignolle;”—“He never assumed the seriocomic tone when alone with Mrs. Pontellier,”—“It was understood that he had often spoken words of love to Madame...
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