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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
"Speaks to me as pertinently as any fiction published this year or last. It is uncanny, nothing else...A masteriece." Linda Wolfe, The New York Times
The publication of THE AWAKENING in 1899 occasioned shocked and angry response from reviewers all over the country. The book was taken off the shelves of the St. Louis Mercantile Library and its author was barred from the Fine Arts Club. Kate Chopin died in 1904.
"It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended protecting wings when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood. They were women who idoloized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels."
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.
Kate Chopin was long before her time in dealing with secual passion...and the personal emotions of women." -- Jean Stafford, The New York Review of Books
This book is a character study of a not particularly likable woman. If Edna was truly supposed to be suffering from depression, then her story is sad; otherwise, she comes across as merely selfish, impetuous, and childish, a woman dissatisfied with her lot in life but unwilling to find constructive ways to improve it. Even within the confining social structure of her times, she might have prevailed if she had tried. The writing was wildly uneven, fluctuating from rather lurid purple prose and flat dialogue to lines of elegant phrasing and insight.
From the inside cover of the book: Written nearly 100 years ago, The Awakening is the compelling story of any extraordinary modern woman struggling against the constraints of marriage and motherhood, and slowly discovering the power of her own sexuality.
My oldest daughter recommended this, she teaches college litature. This book will give you a look into the life of a wealthy woman from the late 1800's. Chopin proves that thinking about ourselves seperate from our husbands and children is a yearning that all woman have, and have had for eternity. The question is will we be brave enough to answer that awakening that happens to all women, or will we bury it?
I read this as a requirement for an English class. I found it interesting and the style was smooth and timely. However, Edna, the main character, was selfish and unlikeable in my opinion. I would recommend it because Kate Chopin is an important writer for all women to have read.
The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating mixed reaction from contemporary readers and criticism. The novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernist literature; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams.
This is a very controversial book on what it's like to be a woman. It gives a brilliant insight in gender roles at the end of the 19th and women's coping with their struggle for independence. Chopin's writing style makes it easy to follow the plot and feel for the protagonist. I recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about the old south from a woman's point of view.