The Awakening : And Other Stories, Paperback Book

The Awakening : And Other Stories Paperback

Edited by Pamela Knights

Part of the Oxford World's Classics series

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


'She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before.' Kate Chopin was one of the most individual and adventurous of nineteenth-century american writers, whose fiction explored new and often startling territory. When her most famous story, The Awakening, was first published in 1899, it stunned readers with its frank portrayal of the inner word of Edna Pontellier, and its daring criticisms of the limits of marriage and motherhood. The subtle beauty of her writing was contrasted with her unwomanly and sordid subject-matter: Edna's rejection of her domestic role, and her passionate quest for spiritual, sexual, and artistic freedom.

From her first stories, Chopin was interested in independent characters who challenged convention. This selection, freshly edited form the first printing of each text, enables readers to follow her unfolding career as she experimented with a broad range of writing, from tales for children to decadent fin-de siecle sketches. The Awakening is set alongside thirty-two short stories, illustrating the spectrum of the fiction from her first published stories to her 1898 secret masterpiece, 'The Storm'. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe.

Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.


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The awakening to self-awareness of a rich New Orleans woman at the end of the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, in my opinion a rather dull book about a very dull woman.On the island of Grand Isle in the Gulf of Mexico a number of wealthy New Orleans are spending their summer vacation away from the city. Mrs Pontellier is of these: a young woman who has drifted into marriage and motherhood with very little thought, and with no strong feelings in relation to her husband, and very few towards her children, she finds herself bored with her life after six years of marriage. Robert Lebrun, the son of the house where they are staying, devotes himself slavishly to Edna Pontellier throughout her visit but, as he devotes himself slavishly (and innocently) to one young married woman or other during every summer season, this passes without remark or without exciting any jealousy on the part of Mr Pontallier. But rather than it just being an innocent flirtation for Edna, on her return to New Orleans she starts to question the very life that she leads.So a story of a woman's awakening to realisation of herself as a person in her own right, rather than as a wife and mother with needs subjugated to those of her family. But unfortunately I couldn't see Edna as anything other than a selfish little rich girl, who was quite happy to take from others without being prepared to give in return, and didn't seem to care about anybody other than herself in any meaningful way. She just didn't engage my interest at all, and neither did any of the other characters. So OK, but not great.

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