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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

51. The Awakening by Kate Chopin


Title: The Awakening
Author: Kate Chopin
Copyright: 1972 (1899)
Pages: 190
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Finished: 7-1-08

A novel of growth, both personal and emotional, Kate Chopin's The Awakening follows the journey of Edna Pontellier, who after spending a summer vacationing with her husband and children, decides to give up the archetypical role of wife and mother and strikes out on her own, realizing there is more to life than what society deems appropriate for a woman. The principal reasoning for her "awakening" is the realization that she is in love with another man, and believes that he loves her in return. Feeling overpowered by her own life and obligations to family, she does what few women did in that time, and moved out of her home into another house, and begins a life that is her own.

When The Awakening was first published, is was looked on as being "unwholesome," both in its independent attitude towards women and its rather frank attitude towards Edna Pontellier's sexual nature. In today's regard, the novel wouldn't be seen as being all that shocking, but it still speaks clearly for the need of independence and freedom in one's own life.

To be frank, I had a hard time getting into the book. I think I found the flow of the writing to be distracting, and halfway through reading switched to an audio book, and was able to follow the story much more clearly this way. The story did prove to be powerful in its telling, and in how Edna finally moves forward with her life.

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