The Awakening, Paperback Book

The Awakening Paperback

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4 out of 5 (7 ratings)


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Amazing book. Can't believe they just tried to ban this in a NW suburb!

Review by

The Awakening has been called the American Madame Bovary, and Chopin certainly writes as beautifully as Flaubert. It paints a picture of the position of a married woman in Louisiana society at the end of the 19th Century, and how Edna Pontellier, mother of two little boys, a respectable, wealthy young protestant woman married to a Creole business man and living in New Orleans, falls in love with another man. This rush of feeling awakens in her her sense of self, her desire to be an independent individual, not anchored or defined by marriage and motherhood. Because this desire is impossible for her to achieve in her society the book ends with her swimming out to sea, and presumably drowning.This vas Kate Chopin's 2nd novel, and when published it caused a terrific stir and damning reviews for its scandalous depiction of female marital infidelity. The book became forgotten, and was only re-discovered in the 1970s, when it was realised that here was a superb piece of American literature. Chopin anticipates the themes of Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" by at least 30 years, and her insight into the psychology of a woman involved in an illicit relationship is both perceptive and honestly expressed. When reading it it seemed a very "modern" novel, and only details of the places and speech reminded me about the time it was written. The forward to this edition carries a warning sentence for politically correct readers "Sensitive readers should be forewarned that the text in places contains racial references characteristic of the era, which may be deemed offensive by modern standards."

Review by

I enjoyed this book. I didn't expect to. The language used and the character pictures painted were really good. The only thing that stopped me from another half star was the ending. I didn't see it coming so it was good from that aspect but it left me high and dry and unhappy. I guess that makes it good too, a good novel should extract emotion from the reader. However, this old romantic would have liked something a bit more positive.

Review by

The Awakening is a defining work of feminism. It features the awakening of Edna Pontellier from her role as a traditional wife, mother, and woman in Louisiana.After taking a trip to a resort for a summer, she falls in love with the handsome Robert Lebrun, who in turn falls in love with her. Upon returning to her world, she determines that her life is not to be made up by societal roles, or by any sort of label, and one by one, she sheds the layers of her former self.Chopin's prose here wishes to free women from their labels, and let the world know that they are not property, or childbearers, or arm candy, but are in fact living, breathing people with the same rights as men.This book is recommended for readers of feminist literature (such as Charlotte Perkins Gillman).

Review by

Kate Chopin's [The Awakening] challenges the norm. For it's time--1899--the book flew in the face of acceptable classical writing. While I am sure there were dime novels which expressed scandalous behavior, this novel was clearly written for the more selective reader of the time. How shocking!! I immagine it made the rounds of the preferred social circles rather quickly. Much as did [Peyton Placce] during the lat 50s. I like a writer who steps out of the box, and I believe this is exactly what Chopin dared to do. Goodby Austen. Goodby Bronte. You've come a long way baby!

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