For this subject to be written about when it was, was an absolute scandal. No one had ever heard of a woman standing up to her husband, let alone breaking it off. This is just one of those novels that I'm proud to say I've read.
First published in 1899, this novel broke new ground in its depiction of women's passions and moral relativism. Scandalous in its day, the story is another of those whose authors seemed unable to imagine that a woman might break with her husband and society's expectations and yet find a happier life. As usual, she ends badly.
I was surprised how well this story kept my interest. I tend to find novels written during this time period tedious, but I finished The Awakening within 4 days. The lead character, Edna, is someone every woman can relate to in one way or another. She is real and flawed.
"It was the summer of Edna Pontellier's twenty-eighth year and as she watched all the mother-women surrounding her on the beach, she vowed not to be one of them and to acknowledge the dire needs and deep yearnings within herself that were unfulfilled by marriage and motherhood. The Awakening (written in 1899) is the compelling story of a surprisingly modern woman trapped in a dehumanizing marriage and struggling to establish herself as an individual- now regarded as a classic in American fiction"
This was an great book. It is amazing that Chopin had guts enough to write this sort of book. Many of her novels and stories were not published until many years after her death because the women in her books were so modern by todays standards.
The Barnes & Noble yellow-jacket hardcover edition, this book is sublime. Chopin's Edna Pontellier is stifled under the weight of her married life. But one summer, she changes bit by bit, leaving her housework and her duties behind. Touching, awkward, rebellious, and suffused with passion, Edna makes choices for herself that lead to a thought-provoking ending. This book stands alongside Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar," Flaubert's "Madame Bovary" and Lilly Bart in "The House of Mirth." I dare to venture that The Awakening is much better than Mme Bovary, as the protagonist is much more relevant to American readers. Beautiful book, beautifully written.