Madame Ratignolle Jenny, Hugh, Nick Chapter IV • • "There are no words to describe her save the old ones that have served so often to picture the bygone heroine of romance and the fair lady of our dreams. There was nothing subtle or hidden about her charms; her beauty was all there." "Madame Ratignolle was very fond of Mrs. Pontellier." • • • "Madame Ratignolle had been married seven years. About every two years she had a baby. At that time she had three babies and was beginning to think of a forth one. She was always talking about her 'condition.'" She is comfortable with her role as a mother, and takes pride in it by bringing up her pregnancy as much as possible. Foil to Edna, who is not "not a motherwoman." Chapter VIII • • Madame Ratignolle asks Robert to leave Edna alone. She explains her reason for asking this by saying "she is not one of us; she is not like us. She might make the unfortunate blunder of taking you seriously." The underlying implication of this statement shows that Madame Ratignolle has high moral standards and is attempting to protect Edna from an affair. She also recognizes that Edna is an outsider to Creole gentility. Chapter IX • • "She was keeping up her music on account of the children, she said; because she and her husband both considered it a means of brightening the home and making it attractive." She is somewhat shallow: her motivation for music is to appear socially entertaining. Chapter XVIII • • • The Ratignolles are described as having a good standing within the community. Madame Ratignolle is frequently described as beautiful and upscale. Their dinner parties are widely known and grand, with music and performances. They lead ideal lives and are comfortable in their lifestyle. • • • "The Ratignolles understood each other perfectly. If ever the fusion of two human beings into one has been accomplished on this sphere it was surely in their union." "Edna felt depressed rather than soothed after leaving them. The little glimpse of domestic harmony which had been offered her, gave her no regret, no longing. It was not a condition of life which fitted her." The domestic harmony the Ratignolles have contrasts with the tension the Pontelliers have in their marriage. Madame Ratignolle is shown to be complacent with her situation. Edna realizes that she does not desire this kind of life and takes pity on her friend. Chapter XXXIII • In this chapter Madame Ratignolle confronts Edna about her relations with Alcee Arobin saying, • " Well, the reason - you know how evil-minded the world is - some one was talking of Alcee Arobin visiting you. Of course, it wouldn't matter if Mr. Arobin had not such a dreadful reputation. Monsieur Ratignolle was telling me that his attentions alone are considered enough to ruin a woman's name". - Madame Ratignolle is sort of warning Edna here. She is saying that other people may see the relationship as an affair, although nobody really knows yet. • • • "In some way you seem like a child Edna. You seem to act without a certain amount of reflection which is necessary in this life." By saying this to Edna, Madame Ratignolle is stating to Edna her harsh but earnest belief. She hopes that after hearing these words from a close friend, that Edna may start to act with the necessary reflection. Chapter XXXVIII • • • "Beyond agonizing moments, [Madame Ratignolle] chatted a little, and said it took her mind off her sufferings." "[Edna] recalled faintly an ecstasy of pain, the heavy odor of chloroform, a stupor which had deadened sensation, and an awakening to find a little new life to which she has given being." Madame Ratignolle blindly accepts her role in the domestic sphere and is willing to suffer for it. Edna does not, as illustrated by her being drugged while giving birth. She feels uncomfortable watching the ordeal and wants to go against what is natural. • • "Think of the children Edna. Oh, think of the children! Remember them!" She attempts to remind Edna of her responsibilities as a mother. While she is Edna's friend, she also tries to act as a mentor and to enforce proper behavior. What Would She Have Thought? • • • Initially, she would have been shocked and saddened, since she was somewhat close to Edna. She would also be curious because of mysterious circumstances. Even though Madame Ratignolle clearly cared for Edna, she does not understand her. Because she spent so much time advising and speaking with Edna about her feelings and her increasing freedom , Madame Ratignolle would likely have been skeptical of her drowning.