Characterization • • "She was a disagreeable little woman, no longer young, who had quarreled with almost every one, owing to a temper which was self-assertive and a disposition to trample upon the rights of others. • • "She arose, and bowing her stiff, lofty bow, she went away, stopping for neither, thanks,nor applause.As along the gallery she patted Edna upon the shoulder." • • "She was a homely woman, with a small weazened face and body and eyes that glowed. She had absolutely no taste in dress, and wore a batch of rusty black lace with a bunch of artificial violets pinned to the side of her hair." "I've heard she's partially demented...I'm told shes extremely disagreeable and unpleasant." "Her playing had aroused a fever of enthusiasm."What passion!""What an artist!" "I have always said no one could play Chopin like Mademoiselle Reisz!" Mademoiselle Reisz is completely independent. She doesn't get along with anybody besides Edna within the Creole society, although the members of society do respect her as an artist. She says and does as she pleases. Edna's reaction to the music • • • "But the very passions themselves were aroused within her soul, swaying it, lashing it, as the waves daily beat upon her splendid body. She trembled, she was choking and the tears blinded her." "Well, how did you like my music?" She asked. The young woman was unable to answer; she pressed the hand of the pianist convulsively. Mademoiselle Reisz perceived her agitation and even her tears. She patted her again on the shoulder as she said: "You are the only one worth playing for." Edna is deeply affected by the music, crying uncontrollably. She has all of these pent up emotions that seem to be released as she listens to her play. Even in this early stage of their relationship we can see how Reisz understands Ednas emotions on a deeper level than anybody else in her life. We can also see how Reisz has a particular favor for Edna, being especially nice to her and only playing for her. Edna's Visit to Mademoiselle Reisz • • • • • Edna sees Mademoiselle Reisz when she is depressed. Reisz plays as an escape for Edna, she feels more at peace when with Mademoiselle Reisz. - she lets Edna read Robert's letter - she plays music for Edna Reisz tells Edna that she does not make empty promises as "Those women in society always do" "It counts with a foolish old woman whom you have captivated" Reisz is very taken with Edna, cares for her deeply and understands that she is not like the typical Creole woman or any woman really. Mademoiselle Reisz on Artists "To be an artist includes much; one must possess many gifts -- absolute gifts -- which have not been acquired by one's own effort. And, moreover, to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul." "What do you mean by the courageous soul?' "Courageous, ma foi! The brave soul.The soul that dares and defies" Here, Mademoiselle does not express her doubt about Edna's aspirations, however, she presents a challenge that Edna takes to heart, even in her suicide. Reisz on Artists cont. • • "Mademoiselle Reisz would have laughed, perhaps sneered, if she knew! 'And you call yourself an artist! What pretensions, Madame! The artist must possess the courageous soul that dares and defies." Mademoiselle Reisz has made a huge impact on Edna as we can see when she thinks of Reisz while she is committing suicide. Her words have made a lasting impression on Edna perhaps more than anyone else in the end. A reader could look at this quote in two possible waysEdna may believe that she is fulfilling this requirement in her last act of rebellion or it may be that Edna feels she is failing Reisz by giving up and killing herself. End of Chapter XXI • • "Edna did not know when the Impromtu began or ended. She sat in the sofa corner reading Robert's letter by the fading light. ..The music grew strange and fantastic - turbulent, insistent, plaintive and soft with entreaty...The music filled the room. It floated out upon the night over the housetops, the crescent of the river losing itself in the silence of the upper air. Edna was sobbing, just as she had wept one midnight at Grand Isle when strange new voices awoke in her." o Reisz's music is always intertwined with Edna's deepest emotions and somehow draws feelings out of her she had not even acknowledged herself yet "Roberts letter was on the floor. She stooped and picked it up. It was crumpled and damp with tears. mademoiselle smoothed the letter out, restored it to the envelope, and replaced it in the table drawer." o another example of Reisz being one of the few who truly know Edna The Bird Motif • • • • Introduction to the bird motif: o "The figure of a man standing beside a desolate rock on the seashore. He was naked. His attitude was one of hopeless resignation as he looked toward a distant bird winging its flight away from him" "She put her arms around me and felt my shoulder blades, to see if my wings were strong, she said. 'The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth." "A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disable down, down to the water." It seems as if in Edna's last moments as she sees the disabled bird flying down to the water she has become the sad bird that Reisz suggested, rather than the strong bird, able to "soar above," her problems. Reisz could see what Edna was going through and understood the reality of her situation, Edna needed to be the strong bird that she suggested in order to survive. Mademoiselle Reisz on Edna's death • Throughout the novel Mademoiselle Reisz is one of the only characters to encourage Edna in her attempts to overcome society’s rules for her. Edna's suicidal drowning might effect Mademoiselle Reisz the most deeply because not only did she understand Edna the best of the characters, but unlike Dr. Mandalet, she also knew Edna personally and tried to help her. We believe that Mademoiselle Reisz would not have been entirely shocked by Edna's suicide. She was one of the only people who saw Edna for who she truly was and understood her emotions. However, Reisz would most likely have been extremely saddened by the news of Edna's death, if not surprised. It is evident that she cared for Edna deeply and most likely would have wanted her to keep living and being strong against the prejudices she faces.