The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Published by MobileReference (mobi).
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The Awakening is a short novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. It is widely considered to be a proto-feminist precursor to American modernism.
The Awakening, was published, and was criticized based on moral as well as literary standards. Her best-known work, it is the story of a dissatisfied wife. Out of print for several decades, it is now widely available and critically acclaimed for its writing quality and importance as an early feminist work.-
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Better as an example of feminist lit than as a story This book has become a feminist lit classic for a reason. It follows the story of Edna, a woman living in Louisiana and married to a Creole, through the span of a little less than a year. In that time, she experiences the "awakening" the title tells about--falls in love (not with her husband), leaves her home and family, and discovers her calling as an artist. On that level, the book works.
But as an actual *story*, well, not so much. Frankly, I found Edna less than sympathetic, especially in her actions towards her children. The ending is abrupt--I won't give it away--and a huge let down after the rest of the book. In essence, the book is building up to...nothing.
All in all, worth reading--but mainly so you can say you've read it. It's good, but nothing special. I read My Antonia around the same time as this, and I much prefered My Antonia. They are sort of similar, so if The Awakening sounds like something you might like but you aren't sure, try My Antonia instead....more info
sick. just sick. i dont have problems with books that have female heroines. but why is it that in literature, women have to commit adultery to be considered heroines? and why iis she (or hester Prinn from scarlet letter) considered models? why is adultery considered a good thing? what next?...more info
One of the best It's good to be a woman.
It's good to read this book.
It's good to pass this book onto your girlfriends.
We are complex creatures
and this book reminds me of what we are capable of....more info
A Long Wait for Awakening Edna Pontellier spends her summers on Grand Isle, a fashionable place for the wealthy. She lives there with her husband and children, in a dull existence with no identity of her own. But something happens to Edna one summer. She grows tired. She practically burst with the feeling that she must live before she dies and that she has yet to really lived at all! She emerges into vibrancy and womanhood only to do the unthinkable in the end.
The story begins with Edna on the beach while her husband, Robert Lebrun, contemplates whether he should spend the evening at his club, which would benefit them socially, or dine with his family. This is the reader's first insight to the importance Mr. LaBrun places on his social standing. It is quickly understood that Edna does not share her husband need for societal gains. The book grows more intriguing as the tension mounts between Edna and her husband. As long as she takes her social duties seriously, he is happy. It is when she chooses to ignore her social obligations, however, that their relationship and the story takes its most interesting turn.
In writing The Awakening, Kate Chopin was well ahead of her time. The novel was met with a great deal of controversy. Even fans of her work prior to this novel, shunned her. She was a pioneer creating women characters beyond the role of wife and mother. She wrote about women's feelings, sexuality, and independence. It took America decades to catch up with Kate Chopin. It is important to add that Chopin used a lot of symbols in all of her work and that The Awakening is full of them. These symbols serve to add meaning to the text and to underline some subtle points. Understanding the meaning of these symbols is vital to a full appreciation of the story. Some of the major symbols include birds, art, sleep, piano playing, the gulf, the moon, and learning to swim.
For information about Kate Chopin's life and other book reviews of southern authors visit www.southernlitreview.com...more info
The Awakening In "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin, Edna lives in a society during the late eighteen hundreds and has her own role assigned to her by that society. Edna has a hard time sticking to her role, especially when she meets Robert; who becomes a good friend. Throughout the novel, Edna is attempting to find herself and who she really is, behind the role that society has placed on her.
"The years that are gone seem like dreams-if one might go on sleeping and dreaming-but to wake up and find-oh! well! Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusion all one's life."
This novel is a relatively short read and is slightly difficult. I really enjoyed the book and especially enjoyed the symbolism throughout; I would rate it a nine out of ten. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a proficient reader and enjoys novels that involve social issues.
Sure, literary merit but so boring! This book surpasses even The Scarlett Letter in being dull! There is absolutely no action. The heroine is frustratingly naive and the ending is horribly disappointing! The premise of the novel has promise but the delivery lacks anything to involve the reader, leaving him bored and DYING for the end of this sub-par read....more info
Haven't Finished But Not Sure I Want To I've been trying to read this book for a while now and just can't seem to get it finished. It was recommended to me and so I thought that it would be pretty good. I'm about half way through the book and feel like I still don't know what the point is. I sure hope it gets better but it doesn't look like it. Some people must really like this book but it's a slow read for me....more info
Where Have You Been All My Life? I picked this book up on a whim, it was inexpensive, short and from the first couple of paragraphs looked interesting. I wondered why I hadn't read it before. I had heard the author's name, probably from my constant searching for great quotes and such.
I started reading and as I continued, I felt waves of familiarity rise up within me.
Yes, this is a "classic" yet the story could be my own.
I remembered when I saw the movie "Pleasantville" for the first time and how disturbed I was by it... so disturbed that I had to pace outside the theatre to catch my breath before I could return.
My life has changed greatly since then, but books like the Awakening serve to remind me how far we have come as a society (in some ways, I am grateful) as well as the sadness for women over time... as we learn the outcome for our heroine.
The writing is beautiful yet sparse enough to move along at a surprisingly fast pace.
I will begin recommending this title to every woman I know, especially the young women. I wish someone had shared it with me before I made some of the choices I made....more info
wait a month to get I bought my book on jan 4 and didn't get it till the 2nd of feb. It apparently takes a month to send it across two states. Also what is great is when you email the seller they never email you back and then all of a sudden get it a month later when you have a class 20 days after you bought it and then couldn't do your homework. A high class seller amazons 1 seller greatttttttttttt!!!...more info
too easy The Awakening certainly deserves the respect it has gotten for its ground-breaking theme and the skill with which it was written. It's deplorable that a talent like Kate Chopin's was silenced because of the prejudices of her time. That said, upon this my initial reading of this classic, I'm left with the thought, "what a waste and how unnecessary." It is true that Edna did not have m uch experience of life/love, but it appears that after her exploration of Edna's gradual discovery of her self, Chopin ran out of ideas and ended Edna's anguish by taking the expected and easy way out. This book could have been so much more had Edna been granted more time to work through her confusion and draw upon her own not insubstantial inner resources. It's difficult to judge something out of its own time and place, but the ending is rather trite and predictable....more info
Sad Protofeminist The first time i read Ellen Gilchrist, i was taken aback by the notion that a mother could find her own children boring. Granted, i was very naive when i read that. I was mostly drawing from what i had seen as a daughter. For my mother, motherhood is an all-consuming experience, which eclipses any other aspect of her life. So it is no wonder that to hear Ellen Gilchrist utter such unbelievable statements sent me for a loop.
Then i became less naive, and realized that there are many nations when it comes to female roles. If in the 90s i was scandalized by a literature mother with little maternal instinct, i can only imagine the turmoil that The Awakening might have caused a hundred years before. And probably motherhood was the least of the issues people had with this book. Edna Pontellier finds herself, at 28, lost and unfulfilled. She is married, has two small boys, but yearns for something more. She becomes infatuated with a younger man, Robert, whom she meets during vacation. This novel does not have a happy ending.
The copy i have has a quote right on the front cover: "Speaks to me as pertinently as any fiction published this year or last." I agree with Linda Wolfe. Although the scenery is different, the customs and manners long past, the core of this book is still true and valid. The only caveat is that in today's age even the most traditional of women have a million more options than the most progressive of 100 years ago. You do realize how far we have gone as women, and what a raw deal our great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers have had to endure for generations on end. Hooray to Kate Chopin for having the guts to tell it like it was (and is for some unfortunate souls)....more info
You'll love it. I've had to read this book numerous times for school purposes and every time I fall in love again. I now own the book and will probably re-read it often in the future. I really felt I could relate to Edna Pontellier in a lot of ways, which some would say makes me very selfish. I don't see Edna as being selfish, just suddenly realizing that nothing is right and she isn't who she should have been. I find it fascinating that I can relate to a book written so long ago....more info
Boring. I found the book to be incredibly... boring. I understand, the significance of it in regards to the time it was written, but really... other women authors were writing much better books, well before Kate Chopin wrote this. The prose is bland, the characters are rather flat. Just not interesting....more info
feminist writing at its best Like many others, I too read this in high school and agree it can be re-read throughout the course of a woman's life and find it correlating to whatever one may be going through. Powerful and empowering at the same time.
Definitely a must-read for women everywhere! Also, I would highly recommend Chopin's short stories....more info
Incredible read Although Kate Chopin did not publish much in her lifetime, she made a strong impact. I especially loved Awaking. It hit a chord for several reasons. First, I was amazed to read something from 1899 with such a strong conviction toward women's rights, with such a realistic ending. Second, I think there are so many of us females today struggling with our own identities. I loved that the heroine broke from the norm and persued a life of her own (rather than living for her two children or the opinions of her husband). Third, I got a taste of an historical and diverse Louisiana. This is the story of Edna Pontellier and her journey toward self-awareness/discovery through one summer of freedom from her husband and children. I especially loved that she was flawed enough in the end to defy social/familial convention to commit the ulimate self-driven act....more info
brilliant I am actually saddened by the range of responses on this book. Mostly, I disagree with those who say the book was daring only then, but not now. Just look at the hostility of some of the reviewers now! One Christian reviewer attacked Edna as being an unworthy immoral woman. Several others were mystified that she should abandon her husband and children when they weren't really bad (ie husband not beating her, etc.). Several others pop-psychologized her and diagnosed mood disorder or depression, obviously in need of drugs. Clearly the woman is unhinged and mentally ill. Let's sedate her!
The very fact that people are still so disturbed by this character's choices is the whole point of Chopin's book, and it is completely applicable now. The point is that she is asserting her right to personhood. The underlying societal assumption is that the natural course of things is that the man and/or society 'owns' the woman (hence people now saying he treats her well, as if this is relevant), and that a woman must sacrifice herself, her being, for her children, and is a monster if she does not. For you to see how sexist our society still is, all you have to do is replace Edna with a man. THere are countless books and movies in which men are married but their relationship with their wives and children is secondary, and instead the books/movies focus on their growth as a human being. It is expected that men 'sacrifice' their home life for their own life. Of course, it might come at a cost (to the women), but the cost is expected and accepted. Men go to war, go on journeys, fight bad guys, become heroes, conquer women, etc. etc etc. The whole point of the book/movie is the man finding himself. This outlook is so pervasive we don't even think of it and think of it as normal.
This book can be directly compared to Madame Bovary, only Madame Bovary, written by a man, is not called "The Awakening;" and Bovary is 'punished' by horrible death at the end. For Edna, her end was her choice. And yes, perhaps she isn't strong enough, as her older artist friend warns her. If she were strong enough, she would leave everyone behind. But that's the point--that it requires inhuman strength to flout societal morality. Look at Kate Chopin, whose wings were clipped completely after the assault on this book, and who never wrote another novel and died in her 50s. Edna did the most she could, swim as far as she could, and if by swimming, she drowned, so be it. This is the point of the book. It is a brilliant book that is very relevant today. How many women still marry because it's expected of them, how many put their own needs last, and how many remain in miserable marriages because they 'think of the children?" ...more info
Tragic character It was hard to read this book at first because of Kate Chopin's style of writing. But once I got used to it after a few pages, I really got into the book. The reader really comes to feel Edna's pain and want for freedom. I must give Chopin tons of props for having enough courage to write a strong female character and daring to use sensuality and lust in her book, even though it was written in the late 1800s (a time that even mentioning a passionate kiss on the lips in literature was forbidden). I got so into the book that I felt as if I were Edna living in a opressed world. Read this book to learn or get more knowledge on how women were treated during the Victorian Era...it is a must read!...more info
While groundbreaking for its time.... After reading The Awakening I have a few areas to comment, some aesthetic and some social.
The story itself is beautifully written. Chopin's description of everything from the houses of New Orleans to the lines of a woman's figure give the reader tremendous detail and satisfaction. One can feel the heat of the day and the smell the times. The development of relationships and characters in this rather short story is remarkable. I chalk this up to the powerful descriptions used, clearly a talented author.
Now to the social implications: I have to believe that, written in its time this was a very controversial book, however, the relationships and affairs of aristocrats was no secret to anybody. The fact that the book was written by a woman probably made it all the more contentious. While I would say the book is groundbreaking, I fail to see how it empowered women. The "awakening" of the main character (Edna) is eloquently written and the initial struggle and coping of Edna could be empowering to a woman. However, Edna, while clearly revolting against her stale marriage and husband, is still under the power of men. She can't resist Arobin and is easily controlled emotionally by Robert. The ending of the book is the culmination of male influence over a woman, and the epitome of a fragile, misled woman. A strong woman would have elected a different route, not relying on the influence of feelings solely impressed by passion for a man.
While the story telling of a woman's struggle to find herself, in a time where a lot of the content is unmentionable, is brilliant. The description of Edna's feelings and her pseudo-procurement of freedom through her realization of "love" is well played. However, one should pause before "feminist" or "strong woman" is cast upon the main character, as the main character is clearly weak.
Awakening is a great literary work which everybody should read, but to trying to force it under the camp of "feminism" is irresponsible and vagrant.
A Mid-life Crisis . . . OR . . . A Brave Struggle for Independence A controversial book of its time "The Awakening" tells of one woman's liberating journey of self-awareness and awakening in 1890s New Orleans. The spiritual and emotional development of the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, progresses slowly but surely throughout the novel. Through her mentor, Mme. Reisz, she slowly awakens to her emotional fulfillment of her spiritual being.
Chopin uses illustrious and descriptive language to paint a portrait of a woman undergoing a metamorphosis. No longer will Edna think of herself as a mere possession (as was the Louisiana law at the time), but as an individual - a strong, independent individual. Although there is little action, the spiritual and psychological transformations are relayed in a thoughtful, articulate manner.
It is understandable that this book was controversial in its time. Indeed, some aspects of it would still be controversial by today's standards. On the surface, this is a book about a married woman suffering a mid-life crisis, who abandons her husband and young children to pursue a life as an artist, partaking of the pleasures of adulterous affairs. Even today, few people would recommend that lifestyle choice. However, in context with the times, this is a powerful book about one woman's struggles to overthrow the shackles that bound her to her family. Apparently, this is a bond that she would not have chosen herself, but was pressured into by the constraints of Victorian society. Perhaps Edna is not after a solitary life without her family, but is pursuing a life of free will and free choice, one in which she has the ultimate authority.
Undoubtedly, Edna suffers as the result of her choices. For isolation and solitude are more prevalent than love and acceptance. Although her adulterous relationships may provide a temporary pleasure, they ultimately leave her empty and hallow. Her unrealistic expectations of romance go unfulfilled. The symbolism of the birds throughout the novel provides a chilling foreshadowing of Edna's eventual tragic ending. Indeed, she cannot escape the cage of Victorian mores.
Although I am certainly not the target audience for this book, I found it an interesting read. It is a well-written book and uses rich, descriptive language. Although some readers may disagree with the motives and actions of the protagonist, no one can fault Chopin's powerful message and masterful use of the English language....more info
The most adaptable novel of all time. This revolutionary novel took place in the Victorian era with Edna Pontellier stealing most of the limelight. This novel depicts conflicting issues: to cheat or not to cheat? From the beginning, Edna begins feeling unusual and intolerable feelings towards a man that is not her husband. She began feeling love and happiness, which were two feelings that she never felt before: not even towards her husband. And the man that brought on these feelings was Robert, innocent and honorable. These two met when vacationing off the coast of New Orleans and instantly felt a connection, even though they thought of it as a "friendly connection." Yet when Robert unexpectadly left for Mexico, Edna began feeling a void in her life and soon found out that she couldnt't live without Robert. As time progressed, she began making changes that would effect everyone around her, from her husband and children to women from all over. She began filling the void by isolating herself from her husband, sleeping with another man, and eventually moving out. This novel is the most adaptable because it can relate to any generation and any person that is put in that kind of situation, which I think makes it such a worthwhile and interesting novel....more info
Literary Lottery Required reading in many university (and high school) curricula because of its "political" importance, The Awakening is the "heroic" tale of woman who has an affair, leaves her family, and walks into the ocean. I had little sympathy for a single character and wondered upon finishing it if the literary canon isn't just some sort of lottery. Even my literature professor (in another of my short and aborted seasons in the academy), who was given to short bursts of impassioned homily about the universal sacrifice of women and the universal culpability of men, etc. admitted that the book was weak, but she was also teaching women's studies, so The Awakening was going to stay. As I say, another short season in the academy.
The Awakening This is a book for those who are clueless of their own identity. I really did not find this book illuminating because even though I see the value in Edna's journey, it holds no relevance, aside from a historical one, in my life. Chopin may have been ahead of her time, but she is a mere banality in ours....more info
Amazing book about women and their experiences I first read this book in high school many years ago as as assignment and was puzzled, inspired, and amazed all at once. I thought of her as so strong, yet so sad all at once that I couldn't even imagine such experiences. After reading this again as an adult that has experienced things of her own, I realize again how truly amazing this novel is. The writing and the emotions evoked are incredible.
Every woman should read this at least once. This book can be read over and over and at each stage of your own life, I think you'll recognize more incredible things about Chopin's writing and her wonderful character....more info
"The Awakening" by Kate Chopin The first time I began reading The Awakening (for my 11th grade honors English class), I was not particularly taken in by the actual story; instead I noticed how quickly I finished the assigned pages. The prose was breezily written, and I enjoyed Chopin's description of the setting.
In class the next day, students were commenting on how dull and somewhat confusing the book seemed. Even my teacher admitted that the story was hard to understand. At first, I did not agree with my teacher's or classmates' opinions, but as their dissatisfaction with the book increased -- eventually, so did mine.
The highly-descriptive prose began to wear on me at about the same time I began to dislike Edna Pontellier. In class discussions, various students -- both male and female -- noted how irresponsible she acted towards her children. One example I remember my teacher pointing out is the part that Edna's husband Leonce remarks on the low quality of the dinner one evening. Had Edna prepared the meal herself, any frustration with her husband would have been more justified. Unfortunately, she and Leonce are wealthy enough to have a cook who goes through the work of making dinner each night. In fact, they have servants to take care of all domestic chores.
In a way, I can see her feeling put upon when she has to take care of her husband's clients and can understand that a mother is not always thrilled about her children. But to say she is highly oppressed is pushing it. Leonce is described as a monster of a person, but his words and actions come across as relatively tame. Even as he wonders what's "wrong" with Edna when he visits the Doctor, he comments that he is wary of confronting her.
Throughout the story, Edna does not grow very much as an individual. The fact that she found love with Robert was touching, but the fact that she abandoned her husband without so much as a word that she was feeling stifled by the relationship was disrespectful. As I said before, Leonce was not abusive and controlling. I wish Mrs. Pontellier had learned that finding oneself does not require avoiding current responsibilities, no matter how hastily acquired. The ending was unfortunate, but did not change my opinions about Edna.
Overall, this isn't a terrible book. I just don't consider it a work of great depth and meaning. I give this book three stars because there are a couple of memorable scenes.
I would suggest this book for anyone looking for a quick, occasionally enjoyable read. The story will seem better if one does not expect to finish the book with heightened self-awareness or a radically altered view of society....more info
Some quick thoughts on the novel Please tell me this: what sort of feminist commits suicide after losing the man she loves? Now I know that Edna mentions that Robert was merely symbolic of her freedom, rather than someone she cared about, but consider it my way. Her rejection of her love for Robert lasted for a small paragraph, and seems especially ridiculous when compared to her time spent mooning over him--roughly seven-eights of the book. When taken into consideration the fact that she commits suicide right after he leaves her, one is forced to conclude that her short rejection of her feelings is nothing more than denial.
While I must admit that her lack of love for her children turned her into a character I could never like, she's not even a well composed character in her unlikeableness. Near the end, before committing suicide, she claims that her reason for such a dramatic act is to escape the control her husband and children have upon her. The question I found myself pondering was: is she ****ing delusional? She hasn't seen her husband for months, has moved out of his house, has taken a new lover, hasn't seen her children for weeks, didn't even have to see her children when they lived together since she had a nursemaid, and clearly isn't only selfish, but is also mentally ill. When she began to describe her children as demons possessing her soul, I came to the obvious conclusion that illness Edna suffered from was Paranoid Schizophrenia. Since there was no knowledge of such a disease in Chopin's time, it makes sense that she might have created this character and thought her to be rational, if she based the character off of someone she had met. However, since we are aware of the disease today, readers should avoid admiring Edna's behavior and concern receiving mental help if they find their thought processes mirroring hers.
I am not going to criticize the book for being boring or the protagonist for being immoral, but I would like it if readers would note that the true awakening of Edna involved her death and avoid from recommending it to their friends as a good example of a woman learning how to live her life. In some cases, espousing suicide is illegal and I would hate for anyone on here to be arrested for encouraging someone to commit suicide. ...more info
Open your eyes Warning: Reading this book will inspire you to break up with your boyfriend! Well, not necessarily, but it is certainly empowering - - a literary masterpiece. I re-read it about once a year, to remind myself of who I am and what I'm capable of being. I wish Chopin had written more novels. ...more info
Lovely I don't know if I have such great memories of this book because my friends I made such fun of it--but most of the books we mock are things we truly enjoyed.
Honestly, we all get a little sick of the depression and the whininess, but essentially this is a deep and thought-provoking novel of early feminism. It's symbolic and beautiful despite all its darkness. ...more info
che stupido!! This book was utterly a waste of time to read. My artistic nature and love for good literature was completely offended by the sacrilege of this exceptionally ridiculous plot. Granted, the idea is to convey the trapped woman vs. the time of the late 19th century and the ineffectual struggle countered by many women. But the plot serves to indicate nothing more than a crazed woman who abbandons her family, life, and morals (all of which were under no concern or abuse) and utterly leaves all those around her in a daze regarding her ridiculous behavior. I clapped when the fool drowned at the end of the book. ...more info
Check out Chopin's prophesy of August 28th, the spirit of the gul From reading the readers' responses, I believe that this classic is still too subtle and complex to be appreciated by most. I consider myself an expert on the subject, having read and reread literally everything Chopin wrote. The most common misconception is that Chopin is holding up Edna as some kind of role model, when it's clear that, although she has many redeemable attributes, Edna is self-absorbed and blinded by her Romanticism. As a sociable widow who by all accounts was a devoted wife and mother, Chopin is a woman who found happiness in her art and in her family--as do Mlle. Reisz and Mme. Ratingolle, respectively.
Chopin is not a moralistic writer; thus, her great novel defies easy categorization. It is a mistake to read the novel as a feminist manifesto. It's an exquisite local color tale that tackles the big questions, without ever being preachy. ...more info
The Awakening The Awakening disputes the double-standard put on women. Why is it fair for men to have different standards than women? Men are allowed to be themselves and rarely be ridiculed. Kate Chopin, the author, explores the ideas unfairly put upon women. After reading The Awakening, many feelings toward society may be altered.
Edna Pontellier, was an enlightening main character who struggled with creating herself. She was stuck between who she was expected to be, and who she was really. Especially in the early 1900s, women were expected to follow a certain standard. Edna neither felt close to her children nor her husband though she was expected to be a good mother and wife. What is a women supposed to do?
Because of the conflicts women face, Kate Chopin explored the possibility that women should be happy, rather than just follow the norm. Women need to follow their hearts and passions, no matter what society thinks.
As the story unfolds, each character helps readers identify a different type of person in society. Mr. Pontellier is so concerned with what everyone thinks that he looks past the pain his wife is experiencing. He would rather make everything look okay on the outside, than to explore the problems on the inside. This is very true in everyday life.
The Awakening has survived the test of time because it portrays society very accurately. All women unanimously can agree to the fact that there is a double-standard placed between men and women. Edna is a strong woman who faces society to even the ranks between men and women. The struggle to be satisfied, although, leaves Edna with a very changing decision.
Not a feminist book; Spoiler alert Although this book is known as one of the first great feminist pieces of literary merit it actually is in no way a feminist book. The main character, Edna is supposed to be realizing her independence as a person but in fact she is incredibly selfish and self obsessed. She is whimsical and uncapable of forming meaningful relationships. She is trying to escape life and all her responsibilities. She leaves her husband and her children for selfish reasons and seeks only to only talk to people who will entertain her. Edna is a selfish and dim witted character whos inevitable end is fitting. She goes out in the only way that is possible for someone as melodramatical and pointless as herself, suicide. ...more info
The first of its kind Written in 1899, "The Awakening" tells the story of Mrs. Edna Pontellier, a woman who finds herself disillusioned by her traditional role as a wife and mother. One summer while her husband is out of town, Edna takes steps to mold her own sexual identity by having an affair with a younger man.
Readers need to look at this book in the context of its time. In this day and age, there's nothing remarkable about an unhappy housewife who seeks comfort in the arms of another man. However, back when this book was written, it created a major scandal: writing so candidly about women's sexual urges and marital infidelity was very taboo. I personally don't think that Kate Chopin's novel is one of the best written books of its age, but it's a landmark novel because it was the first book to ever tackle such "forbidden" subjects, and you have to give it a lot of credit.
This is a very short book divided into extremely brief chapters, which makes it a pretty quick read. Although it's easy to sympathize with Edna's situation, she strikes me as being a very selfish character, and I think that put a major damper on the story for me. I thought that the resolution of Edna and Robert's affair was a bit anticlimactic, but what Edna chooses to do on the very last page is pretty shocking.
Overall, I recommend this book, but I think many people will find that it doesn't live up to their expectations....more info
Great book This is a great book written by a great author. Sad at times but extremely good writing. I also recommend Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ...more info
not so simple, not so obvious The protagonist of this excellent novel is commonly seen as a victim of the repression and hopelessness of women's desires for autonomy in middle-class American society around the end of the 19th century. This view is easily justifiable, and Chopin does give the reader plenty of pointers toward this interpretation.
But a different and also arguable view is that Edna Pontellier is not so much a victim, but rather a failure. Just what is her problem? Her husband is well off and considerate. He married her for love, and now finds himself with a wife whom he "meet[s] in the morning at the breakfast table." He tells her about his day and she doesn't listen. She's popular among her social set. She has plenty of servants. Even when she unilaterally declares her independence, dropping her social life, neglecting the children and the household, brusquely telling her husband "Let me alone, you bother me" and apparently denying him the pleasures of the marriage bed, he tolerates and indulges her in an even-tempered manner, merely asking for but not even insisting that she manage the household better. She then moves into her own house, leaving her husband behind, and he tolerates that too.
Whatever her problems, what is her program? She lives on fantasies of unrequited love; she lacks empathy for others (including her children); she's egoistic to a fine point. She acts on impulse; her desires are vague. She comes to know what she does not want - to belong to any man - but cannot formulate or pursue what she does want beyond incoherent, fanciful and impractical fragments. She won't pay her dues as wife and mother - even though those dues are very light. She realizes that she doesn't want to belong to any man, and she hasn't the courage to be alone. She takes some steps to change her life, has some partial success, but when she's rejected by Lebrun, the younger man who is too honorable to have an affair with a married woman (whom she has already realized she doesn't want either) she just quits. She's a malcontent without much of a program or much of a spine. The novel's title suggests an irony: Edna wakes up but doesn't know what to do in the world to which she awakens.
Edna's vague desires seem to be for a kind of de-humanized autonomy. Husband, children, friends, society - she experiences all these as constraints. She yearns to re-invent herself, but in a world with no attachments at all. This doesn't exist in life, and so - again without really realizing it - she chooses the only option that will free her from all those clingy attachments - death. At age 28, she gives up. Unable to do anything positive, she commits an act of complete rejection - of everything she has and anything to which she might aspire.
What's going on? If Chopin had wanted to write a simple expos¨¦ of woman as victim - the impossibility of a woman's desire for autonomy -- she could have made Edna a bit more gutsy, a bit less dreamy, a bit more positively purposeful. The literature of the time was full of women as victims - Emma Bovary, Anna Karenina, Manon Lescaut, Marguerite Gautier/Violetta Val¨¦ry, etc. etc. etc. None of them were half as sappy as Edna Pontellier. Has Chopin deliberately crafted something deeper and more sophisticated than just a screed about how tough it was to be a woman?
And there are still other possible interpretations - for example the very common one of the woman who acts immorally and is punished for it (see most of the heroines mentioned earlier in this note). Chopin has written a complex and ultimately ambiguous story. Is Edna a victim or is she a failure? Is she justly punished or unjustly repressed? Chopin has given us a game of reader's choice, including the richer appreciation that Edna is both a victim and a failure, both repressed by social norms and punished for violating them. Let the reader enjoy!
Classic The Awakening is a novella about a young married woman in New Orleans during the late 1800s who suddenly develops a taste for freedom - to make her own decisions and live with the consequences. An exciting concept only because of the setting. The storyline is really very mild for today's readers.
The only thing that makes this underdeveloped novella worth reading today is knowing what era the author was from and the impact it made with her peers when this story was released. Were it published today it would quickly disappear into oblivion. ...more info
The Novelty of Womanhood
In Kate Chopin's social critique, The Awakening, the author addresses issues of womanly status in daily society. Chopin's protagonist Edna Pontellier, whose life is somewhat less than perfect, faces these "issues". After marrying a man whom she says was "purely an accident" (23), and mothering two children for whom she feels indifferent about, she finds herself longing for adventure, passion, true love and for freedom from the prison that she allows herself to succumb to. Through a series of events, Edna is `awakened' to a new outlook on life. Through love, scandal, betrayal, and death Chopin demonstrates the power of female sexuality versus the oppressive society "as an individual to the world within and about her" (18).
This story tells the tale of a woman searching for happiness. Edna Pontellier does find it. She finds fulfillment in the country where she vacations to visit a friend. In this place she is introduced to a new, more liberal, way of living: the kind of living where there is no one to please other than ones self. It is here that Edna is content. But when Edna finally returns to her home in New Orleans, she is overwhelmed by the sudden domination society places on her newfound liberation. The only thing that is questionable about this story, is the question, is Edna liberated at the end? Or not? In my opinion I believe she liberates herself by committing suicide: she gave up entirely.
Although Edna may seem that gives up, it is apparent that she did feel unshackled from much of her previous entrapments, she states here, while speaking to her lover Robert, "I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier's possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose" (133). In saying this, she demonstrates an attitude of overwhelming liberalism, unlike that of the women of her time, raising another good argument: Kate Chopin wrote this novel in 1899. In this era, women were not supposed to think this way about their own lives; they weren't supposed to think of themselves, the ultimate needs of the family were meant to be the only concern of theirs. But Chopin's view of the treatment of women, though criticized by many, is a timely argument. The Awakening pinpoints this impairment to women, "'you are burnt beyond recognition', he added, `looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property that has suffered some damage'" (4). Here, demonstrates how women are treated as objects-no wonder Edna felt so strongly about her discontent in her marriage, it was never a team effort.
As Edna first begins to have her awakening, she says, "A certain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her-the light which, showing the way, forbids it" (18). It is almost as if she must repel her newfound liberation in order to appeal to society as a good mother-but this is all a fa?ade, Edna realizes that her ways are false and instead she decides to live according to her own rules.
Although Edna may seem like a great candidate for a women's rights campaign, it is easy to think differently of her when she speaks of her family. Selfishness exudes from her every word, "They were apart of her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul" (143). The fact that she is so inwardly focused, was enough for me as a reader to lose my compassion for her. I feel that a wife, and certainly a mother, should most definitely express an undeniable strong devotion for one's family.
Right after stating this, Edna drowns herself in the sea, ending her internal struggle once and for all. This ending feels utterly incomplete, I felt as a reader that there was no closer, or cultivating, intellectually challenging ended. It literally just ended, which led me to the conclusion that I believe this book is very controversial and there are many different interpretations of what is right or wrong. But I came to realize that it does make you think twice about life in general, but it left me pondering a question: "Am I content with my life, or do I constantly long for more?".
The Awakening is a classic novel, which tells the tale of how one woman overcame conformity by liberating herself from society's oppressiveness, and instead following her own dreams, desires, and passion for the feeling of happiness. Although there are a few lingering questions and some loose ends toward the end, it is ultimately a good read, even if your view of life does not drastically change, if you enjoy a twisted love story, this would be an enjoyable novel.
Review of the Awakening by Serenity00674 Judging by the cover (which is ill-advised) this novel may seem to be just another romantic story with a dry, unoriginal plot. Chopin however draws the story from social struggles of that era. Feminism is a part of the book, but not the reason it's written. Written in the late 19th century, this highly controversial book was banned from bookshelves, although it's hard to see what all the fuss was about today.
The main character of the story is Edna Pontellier, and the antagonist is society itself. Edna begins the book as a na?ve, complacent girl. She conforms to social teachings of how a woman should act and react in certain situations, but something with her doesn't sit quite right; she begins to feel an unconscious desire for independence.
Throughout the novel Edna has a series of "awakenings" (hence the title) which are moments when she becomes a bit more self-reliant. She begins by doing something small, learning how to swim, until her "ultimate awakening" at the end of the book.
I would give this novel 5 out of 5. Not only is this book well written and thought out. But it has a depth to it which compels you to continue reading until the end. Chopin's novel is not about female empowerment, but pointing out obvious problems in her society.
Emotion Endings of Kate Chopin "I love you. Good-by because I love you" said by Robert to Enda in a note that he left for her just after she went to help deliever the baby Madame Ratignolle was having. This novel, The Awakening , was deemed obscene and immoral when it was first published in 1899 because it depicted stories about having sexual intercourse with someone other than a woman's husband or having immoral thoughts about it. To give a brief plot summary, it is about finding your true self when no one around you is willing to help, defying everything that women stood for back then (which was to be a housewife, a good mother, and basically a slave) and being a "one of a kind" person. Kate Chopin herself was a very capricious person and did not like to be told what to do and how to do it. I believe that The Awakening was written to show people exactly how she felt like being a woman in such a high society and pressure that it bares down upon you. Even the language used in the book shows how high society expected you to speak. Kate Chopin's style of writting is truly superb. The way she hints at things, for example. Page 67, "I will, thank you. Good-by" said by Robert again to Enda before he leaves for Mexico. By this time in the book we already know that they have feelings for each other, although she is married she still cares deeply for him and deep down urnes for him to not to leave. However being married forbides that she do that. The passion and tension between the two just creates a sense of overwhelming love that Kate never really comes out and says "I love you but I must go because you have a husband and I can't have you" just shows how the book always has on this emotional roller coaster. The end of book depicts how love is and how it can have an awful ending or a really tremendous ending. I believe that The Awakening had a tremendous ending, however I'll let you decide for yourself. Read it, it'll have you crying, laughing, and jumping up in your seat screaming at Enda to do the right thing.
Beautifully written. This is one of those books that remind you what literature is about and how powerful it is. It is a terrible injustice to limit literature, such as this book, by catagorizing it into a certain type of ideology, or to attach moral judgement. If so, there wouldn't be any good literature left.(defenitely no Lolita) The awakening of one's soul and desire inspite of the external restraints, and the determination to bring changes in life, however tragic it may be, should speak to every human being. A Lovely book in all senses....more info
The Awakening Edna Pontellier meets this guy named Robert Lubron. Edna adn Robert start going out, and Edna eventually falls in love with him. A while into the relationship Edna tells Robert that she wants to have a baby and that she wants Robert to be the father. Robert doesn't like the idea as much as Edna and he leaves her. Adele Ratignolle gets pregnant and that makes Edna a little sad that Adele gets to have a baby and she doesn't. Adele tells Edna that carrying and having a baby is horrible and that Edna is lucky that she isn't having a baby. Edna is still upset that she isn't having a baby. The next day when Edna gets home from the store she realizes that Robert is back. When she asked him why he was there he told her that he wanted her back and that he was sorry that he ever left her in the first place. ...more info
AMAZING I read this book as an assignment for high school and loved it. It is a great book for teenage girls to read. ...more info
Not As Good As I Thought It Would Be.... I decided to read this book as a way to be ahead of the rest of my AP English Class(11th), and to some degree i glad i did so i can ask my teacher if i can read something else...
Okay, first of all, i understand that this book was a "scandal" of its time, and that it does embody the social, sexual, sensual, and personal side to Louisiana society and women. And the prose was full of imagery, very beautifully written. However, what i didn't like about this book was that it didn't really live up to the depth that the author obviously tried to portray throughout the book. Quite frankly, it gets quite boring to read. And the plot is quite simple, and its not really that original. I thought the characters were just lacking depth and meaning, and even the main character, Edna Pontellier, didn't leave too much of an impression on me, even after she committed suicide in the ocean. Yes, that's unfortunate, and yes i give Edna credit for realizing her "awakening," which i think is the most appealing thing to see in this book, and to see that she's daring and bold to be on affairs and such. However, i don't understand why this book is so acclaimed as being a "classic," and why in its day it was so "scandelous." This wasn't the first novel that created scandal, let alone is it the first to have a heroine that broke the social barrier and committed adultery, searched through her sexuality, etc. (does Madame Bovary ring a bell?). This novel wasn't bad, but its not the best either. I just think its unfortunate that this book just weakens its own purpose and seems to just lead to an ending that doesnt leave too much of an impression as it should. ...more info
Realistic I haven't much to comment on the writing style, plot line, whether or not Edna was truly "Awakened" or if the book is even deserving of the label feminist.
What I found most stunning and heart-wrenching were the absolutely beautiful and realistic relationships between each character. Even more amazing were the relations between Edna and Robert. Every awkward pause, every awkward time they were apart resonated in my own life. Maybe it is just me, but their relationship was so realistic when compared to the other novels I have read, where every love seemed contrived and too perfect. What was between them was real; it caught me and stunned me and made me wish only for more.
In my opinion this book was one of the best I have ever read solely because of the realistic nature of every conversation, thought, and feeling. I understood why every character did what he or she did, and every action led to circumstances which formed an ending that is so heart-wrenching. I will read it again and again, I'm sure of it.
I personally don't believe the book is outlandishly feminist. It was merely a character study: of a woman in circumstances which push her and pull her in a beautiful plot line that is realistic and beautiful....more info
A Statement on Non-Traditional Sensibilities An interesting portrayal of how non-traditional
women seem to have no options. Awaiting the
modern day version. Who's going to write it????...more info
How long have I been asleep? On the cover page the following sentence caught my eye: "Written nearly one hundred years ago, THE AWAKENING is the compelling story of an extraordinary modern woman struggling against the constraints of marriage and motherhood, and slowly discovering the power of her own sexuality" (Avon Books). And truthfully, yes, that does sum everything up into a nice tidy bow. The novel is primarily about Edna Pontellier a woman in a loveless marriage. Edna wakes up from her half dead sleep once she embraces the emotions she didn't know she could even express. Edna embodies the classic tale of Phoenix: she is completely reborn.
The courage Chopin possessed to write this one hundred years ago is extraordinary. This is a feminist novel without being negative towards men. More than that, she explores feminine psyche in such a way that this novel could have been written in our time. But clearly, as the introductory page indicates, it was written nearly (now over) one hundred years ago. I can see why it was banned from libraries and schools. Edna, our protagonist, stands out from the rest of the Creole characters. Unlike the other women, she is not particularly attached to her children. She loves them of course, but she doesn't dote on them as the mothers (like Madame Ratignolle), nor does she seem to believe that the world revolves around her husband. On the contrary, Edna feels a longing she cannot explain. A belief that there is something more out there than just this. Psychologically this reminds me extensively of "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Everyone else is so quick to diagnose her without even wanting to listen to what she wants! Though we cannot be for certain (since it is merely implied but not stated), it appears that Edna also displays symptoms of depression.
Edna goes through a complete metamorphosis with her character. Her deconstruction begins by getting over her fear of swimming. There is such a beautiful scene with her swimming in the ocean after a party in the evening, with other people swimming and watching her. She keeps swimming until it frightens her how far she has ventured and she returns elated to her husband (who of course only says she didn't really go that far out). The turning point happens later when Robert (another man) returns with her and wishes her a good night and for the first time in YEARS she "felt pregnant with the first-felt throbbings of desire" (51). It is here that Edna AWAKENS from her half awake-half dead going-through-the-motions life. It is after this scene that her husband and people begin to notice a difference within her.
There are so many memorable scenes in this novel. What I enjoyed the most was seeing Edna's growth as an individual. Instead of doing wifely duties of visiting with her husbands' client's wives, she chose to go to the horse races and gamble (and win). She painted and committed herself to reading more and educating herself. She sold her paintings for money. She bought her own small abode (the pigeon house). She firmly established herself as an independent, career-oriented full person. She loved her children, but felt more at peace when they were gone. There is something to be said about that; not all women, Ms. Chopin may have been saying, should aspire to only be mothers. Why can't women enjoy themselves?
I won't spoil the ending but let me just say that it is very fitting. Even though it is the end of the novel Chopin leaves the readers thinking that Edna's life is just now beginning. Some will disagree, and that's what makes it so powerful. There is an implied ending, but truly we - as only students of literature - will never know for sure. ...more info