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The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Awakening (1899)

by Kate Chopin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,365114613 (3.62)427
  1. 120
    The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories {Oxford World's Classics} by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (JustJoey4)
    JustJoey4: Both published in 1899, both deal with the freedom of the wife. Interesting to compare the situation, actions and reactions of the main characters.
  2. 110
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Yells, StarryNightElf)
    StarryNightElf: This is the American version of Madame Bovary - set in turn of the century Louisiana.
  3. 60
    A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf (roulette.russe)
  4. 41
    A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: A woman realizes she has a responsibility to herself that comes before that to her husband, children and societal expectations.
  5. 30
    Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (Yells)
  6. 41
    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (rosylibrarian)
  7. 00
    Anna Karenina [Norton Critical Edition, 1st ed.] by L.N. Tolstoy (gypsysmom)
  8. 00
    Rosshalde by Hermann Hesse (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Both books deal with protagonists (one a wife and one a husband) who find themselves unable to live up to the expectations of conventional married life.
  9. 00
    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Strong female protagonist causes a stir in a male-dominated society by going after the things she wants.
  10. 00
    Summer by Edith Wharton (collsers)
  11. 00
    The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Both deal with the position of women in relation to the wider world.
  12. 00
    The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (aliklein)
  13. 01
    My Antonia by Willa Cather (chrisharpe)

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» See also 427 mentions

English (112)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
I'm of two minds about this book. I'm all for Edna finding herself and striving for equality during a time when women had neither luxury. Destroying every relationship she has because of her own selfish pursuits, not so much. ( )
  AngelClaw | Feb 3, 2016 |
I came to this book with a few criteria.

The Awakening basically fulfilled my objective.
The time period was late 19th century......
The topic was controversial for the time....
The writer was a woman
I might add, my e reader copy presented a nice biographical sketch of the author
as an addendum.

3.5* ( )
  pennsylady | Jan 23, 2016 |
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. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
Edna Pontellier “awakens” during another summer spent with her husband and children on Grande Isle, LA. The sultry nights, the hypnotic lapping of the waves on the beach, the intoxicating scents and the attentions of one person in particular all combine to bring strength to Edna’s inner self. Slowly, she comes to feel that she has stifled the person inside her for her husband, her family and society. She is unable to fully explain what is happening to her, but she knows that she can no longer be untrue to herself.

I really enjoyed this novella. I could not help but think about Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth; I see so many parallels between Lily Bart and Edna. The time frame is similar (late 1890s), as is the inner turmoil of our heroine as she tries to make decisions about her life. While Edna is older than Lily, and has already achieved a measure of success in society (i.e. she has married well, has two charming children and a lovely home), she, like Lily, longs for something that will result in her removal from the society she knows.

The novella unfolds slowly, with limited dialogue, but a vivid sense of place. There is languorousness about the writing that mimics the languor felt on a hot and humid summer day on Grand Isle. Two scenes provide a perfect contrast and illustrate Edna’s awakening spirit. In one she sits with her husband on the veranda all night with scarcely a word between them and a palpable distance. In the other she spends an afternoon napping, while her friend Robert sits outside under a tree waiting; and despite the physical distance and lack of personal contact portrayed there is a palpable intimacy between them.

Without expressing her feelings exactly, the novel gave me insight into how Edna must have felt – excited by this new phase of her life, afraid to reveal how much it means to her, unsure she’s chosen wisely, full of regret, and finally accepting.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Sometimes the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list surprises me with a great book that I had never heard of. Such was the case with this book.

Published in 1899, The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontillier, a young married woman with two sons. It opens in a resort in Grand Isle on the Gulf of Mexico where Mrs Pontillier and the boys are staying for the summer with Mr. Leonce Pontillier coming down from New Orleans on weekends. The owner's son, Robert Lebrun, falls in love with Edna and the feeling is reciprocated although there is no physical intimacy. Towards the end of the summer Robert leaves Grand Isle to seek his fortune in Mexico and Edna feels very depressed. Back in New Orleans Mrs. Pontillier stops involving herself in polite society and feels happier and free. Her husband goes to New York on a business trip and the boys are sent to their grandmother in Iberville so Edna is free to do as she likes. What she really wants to do is live with Robert but society would find that scandalous. Edna Pontillier is a prisoner of her times and, like Anna Karenina, she is made to suffer.

As can be imagined this book was vilified by many reviewers when it came out. But I imagine a number of women probably read it and felt it spoke to them. The writing style is so evocative of the Deep South that I felt transported there. We spent a few days on Grand Isle last year and although I am sure it is far different from the 1890s when this story was set I too felt the langourous pleasure of that locale. It is a perfect setting for this story. ( )
  gypsysmom | Nov 3, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chopin, Kateprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, Sandra M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lammers, GeertjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, MarilynneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Showalter, ElaineIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walker, Nancy A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, Deborah L.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

The Awakening and Other Stories (Oxford World's Classics) {33 stories} by Kate Chopin

The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction {14 stories} by Kate Chopin

The Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin: Complete Novels and Stories: At Fault / Bayou Folk / A Night in Acadie / The Awakening / Uncollected Stories (Library of America) by Kate Chopin

The Awakening and Selected Short Stories {9 stories} by Kate Chopin

Three Classics By American Women: The Awakening; Ethan Frome; O Pioneers ( Bantam Classics) by Kate Chopin

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First words
A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside, kept repeating over and over:
"Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That's all right!"
The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.
She missed him the days when some pretext served to take him away from her, just as one misses the sun on a cloudy day without having thought much about the sun when it was shining.
The years that are gone seem like dreams – if one might go on sleeping and dreaming – but to wake up and find – oh! Well! Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
First published in 1899, this beautiful, brief novel so disturbed critics and the public that it was banished for decades afterward. Now widely read and admired, The Awakening has been hailed as an early vision of woman's emancipation. This sensuous book tells of a woman's abandonment of her family, her seduction, and her awakening to desires and passions that threaten to consume her. Originally entitled A Solitary Soul, this portrait of twenty-eight-year-old Edna Pontellier is a landmark in American fiction, rooted firmly in the Romantic tradition of Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson. Here a woman engaged in self-discovery turns away from convention and society and toward the primal, irresistibly attracted to nature and the senses. The Awakening, Kate Chopin's last novel, has been praised by Edmund Wilson as "beautifully written." And Willa Cather described its style as "exquisite," "sensitive," and "iridescent."
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380002450, Mass Market Paperback)

"She grew daring and reckless. Overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out. Where no woman had swum before."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:19 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Edna Pontellier, a Victorian-era wife and mother, is awakened to the full force of her desire for love and freedom when she becomes enamored with Robert LeBrun, a young man she meets while on vacation.

» see all 18 descriptions

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9 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400100313, 1400109078

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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