"The Awakening" by Kate Chopin shocked the critics of her time, because of the issues that it addressed. Devastated by the bad reviews, Chopin never wrote again. In time, the book was revived by feminists who recognized that the work was fascinating, also beautifully written and composed. "The Awakening" tells the story of Edna Pontellier, who is unhappy in her life as a mother and wife. In the book, Edna begins to "awaken" from her conventional role of mother and wife to a woman that desires independence to become an individual. Though married, Edna falls in love with Robert Leburn, who moves away to avoid destroying her reputation by showing his feelings for her. She then has an affair with Alcee Abouron, a womanizer. Through "The Awakening," Edna discovers that she cannot awaken fully from the restraints and conventions placed upon her by society-that during her time, society will not let her be the woman that she wants and needs to be. "The Awakening" is about a woman that experiences and realizes the complexities of her life, and the restraints keeping her from being the woman she wants to be. Other stories included in this book include "Beyond the Bayou," "Ma'a me Pelagie," "Desiree's Baby," "A Respectable Woman," "The Kiss," "A Pair of Silk Stockings," and "The Locket."
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“Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life.”
Kate Chopin was enjoying wide popularity as a writer, mainly of short stories, when her second novel, The Awakening, was published to widespread criticism of its immorality. A wake-up call to women all over the country, this landmark novel of early American feminism tells of a Louisiana wife who discovers the strength of her own sexuality and tries to wrench it from the hands of a patriarchal society. And just as Edna Pontellier is ostracized for trying to master her own sexual fate, so did Chopin’s reputation suffer after she wrote this book. Today The Awakening is considered a masterpiece and, along with Chopin’s short stories, has set a standard for younger generations of women who have learned to value their independence and authenticity.
Edited and with an Introduction by Barbara H. Solomon and with a New Afterword by Roxane Gay.
The Awakening tells of a wife who discovers the strength of her own sexuality and tries to wrench it from the hands of a patriarchal society- and her upper-class Cajun family.This and Chopin's other short stories are standard-setting masterpieces.
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