The Awakening

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A fashionable young man notorious for his relationships with married women. He courts Edna aggressively. His mixture of coyness and sincerity both repels and fascinates her, and they become close friends. Edna is attracted to Arobin, but does not love him. It’s implied that they eventually become lovers, though the book does not describe anything more explicit than a kiss.

Alcée Arobin Quotes in The Awakening

The The Awakening quotes below are all either spoken by Alcée Arobin or refer to Alcée Arobin. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of The Awakening published in 1993.
Chapter 27 Quotes

It was the first kiss of her life to which her nature had really responded. It was a flaming torch that kindled desire.

Related Characters: Edna Pontellier, Alcée Arobin
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

After a long period of flirtation, Edna and Alcée Arobin, an infamous seducer of married women, finally kiss. As they do so, the narrator relates that it was "the first kiss" of Edna's life "to which her nature had really responded." Readers can infer that Edna has never before kissed a man she was really attracted to, or experienced desire for someone who wanted her in turn.

Edna's spiritual awakening has now become sexual. For the first time, she now knows what it is to want and be wanted--her frozen mental and physical state has melted entirely. The narrator extends this metaphor, explaining that the kiss Edna experiences is "a flaming torch that kindled desire."

After years of resigning herself to marital relations with a husband to whom she was not attracted, this kiss is revelatory for Edna. It teaches her what actual physical desire feels like, and makes her understand what she has been missing up until now. 

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Alcée Arobin Character Timeline in The Awakening

The timeline below shows where the character Alcée Arobin appears in The Awakening. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 25
Action and Reflection Theme Icon
Freedom and Emptiness Theme Icon
...or sits at home and broods. She often goes to the horse races with Alcée Arobin, a popular and somewhat notorious young man famous for seducing married women, and Mrs. Highcamp,... (full context)
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Women’s Rights, Femininity, and Motherhood Theme Icon
Realism and Romanticism Theme Icon
Action and Reflection Theme Icon
...racing from her father, so her first time at the races she bets very successfully. Arobin becomes infatuated with her. Dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Highcamp and Arobin that night is... (full context)
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Women’s Rights, Femininity, and Motherhood Theme Icon
Realism and Romanticism Theme Icon
A few days later, Arobin comes to visit her alone; she can’t think of an acquaintance to chaperone them, so... (full context)
Chapter 26
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Women’s Rights, Femininity, and Motherhood Theme Icon
Freedom and Emptiness Theme Icon
Arobin sends her a romantic letter of apology; to downplay its significance, Edna answers as though... (full context)
Chapter 27
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Women’s Rights, Femininity, and Motherhood Theme Icon
Realism and Romanticism Theme Icon
That night, Arobin notices her unusually good mood. She enjoys the careless way he touches her hair and... (full context)
Chapter 28
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Freedom and Emptiness Theme Icon
Edna cries when Arobin leaves. She feels assailed by her husband in the form of the house around her,... (full context)
Chapter 29
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Women’s Rights, Femininity, and Motherhood Theme Icon
Action and Reflection Theme Icon
...her things and cleans and decorates the new house with the help of her servants. Arobin comes to visit her as she does work in the new house, and insists on... (full context)
Chapter 30
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Action and Reflection Theme Icon
Freedom and Emptiness Theme Icon
Out of the eleven invited, nine attend Edna’s party: Arobin, Mademoiselle Reisz, Mrs. Highcamp, Monsieur Ratignolle, Victor Lebrun, and two couples—Mr. and Mrs. Merriman, a... (full context)
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Freedom and Emptiness Theme Icon
...her hand over his mouth, he kisses it passionately. Soon, all the other guests (except Arobin) drift home. (full context)
Chapter 31
Women’s Rights, Femininity, and Motherhood Theme Icon
Realism and Romanticism Theme Icon
Action and Reflection Theme Icon
Freedom and Emptiness Theme Icon
When they are alone, Edna tells Arobin that she is ready to leave for her new home. She lets him bring her... (full context)
Chapter 33
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Action and Reflection Theme Icon
...with a social visit. She advised Edna not to spend so much time alone with Arobin—people had been gossiping about them. Then Mrs. Highcamp and Mrs. Merriman visited her and invited... (full context)
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Action and Reflection Theme Icon
...decides to stay when he sees her dismay. He asks jealously about a photograph of Arobin on her living room table, and she explains that she had been sketching his head.... (full context)
Chapter 34
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Freedom and Emptiness Theme Icon
...from a Mexican girl, and Robert assures her that she is not important to him. Arobin stops by with a message, and Robert quickly leaves. (full context)
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Realism and Romanticism Theme Icon
Freedom and Emptiness Theme Icon
Edna decides not to go to Mrs. Merriman’s card game, and Arobin agrees to mail her note of apology. She refuses Arobin’s invitation to go for a... (full context)
Chapter 35
...of her future friendship with Robert. She receives letters from her son, her husband, and Arobin. She answers her husband, who had written to say he would take her on a... (full context)
Convention and Individuality Theme Icon
Action and Reflection Theme Icon
Freedom and Emptiness Theme Icon
...always hopes that he might come, but eventually she gives up expecting him. She lets Arobin take her out and receives his attentions with indifference. (full context)