The book, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, is not so much a love story as it is a story of one woman. Mrs. Pontellier was a woman with emotional needs. Her needs include material, sexual, intimacy, and the need to be wanted or needed. Among Lonce Pontellier, Alce Arobin, and Robert Lebrun, she pursues and meets her needs.
Although Lonce Pontellier didnt seem to play a part in her life, he did. He provided her materialistic needs. Just as she dreaded, he was her husband in the worlds eyes. It is plain to see that Edna finds marriage a revolting institution from this quote: Her marriage to Lonce Pontellier was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of Fate. The acme of bliss, which would have been a marriage to a tragedian, was not for her in this world. As the devoted wife of a man she felt she would take her place thus closing the portals forever behind her upon the realm of romance and dreams.p18 So that leaves the problem of romance and dreams. Who filled this world that she seems to have missed?
Alce Arobin was a suave, seductive man. He thrived on lust, yet at a socially acceptable scale. Therefore, when he commenced in sharing time with Mrs. Pontellier at the races and such, it didnt appear sinister. He sometimes talked in a way that astonished her at first and brought the crimson in to her face; in a way that pleased her at last, appealing to the animalism that stirred impatiently within her.p78 By defining animalism as the innate desire to be sexually pleasing, or sexual, we can see that Arobin pleased the sexual yearning of Edna Pontellier.
It is clear that Mrs. Pontellier doesnt really feel affection for Arobin because after their time together, her thoughts commented that there was a dull pang of regret because it was not the kiss of love which had inflamed her, because it was not love which had held this cup of life to her lips.p84 It was the kiss of lust that kept them together.
The Awakening is a book of Mrs. Edna Pontelliers changes. Originally, Mrs. Pontellier had only her husband to fill her needs. By the closing stages of the story she had broken vows and social tradition to bring about more emotional stability within her.