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The Awakening (1899)

by Kate Chopin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,439167792 (3.6)515
The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating mixed reaction from contemporary readers and criticism.The novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernist literature; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams.… (more)
Recently added byRennie8888, Estragon1958, Arina8888, private library, whewtaewoon
  1. 120
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» See also 515 mentions

English (162)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (167)
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
Pioneering feminist work bogged down by its emotionally distant atmosphere, without any room for complete immersion nor resonance, The Awakening tells the frustrating ambivalence and wavering desire of the unhappily married Edna Pontellier. Caught in the surging waters of domesticity, while living a comfortable life on its treacherously calm surface, she wades around for any sense of purpose. But she is tied by social norms, pulling her underneath. This is exacerbated by other women, wives and mothers both, swimming around her, docile and obedient, as they trap themselves happily within the borders of opportunities or lack thereof, entirely contented by the lacklustre life laid out before them. Be a wife, be a mother, they say. Be grateful, they say. But Edna could not accept such a fate, yet she does not know what she path to take for herself. She is neither an enthusiastic wife nor an enthusiastic mother. Kate Chopin writes it as an 'indescribable oppression, which seems to generate in some unfamiliar part of her (Edna's) consciousness'. So Edna moves her arms, tightens her muscles, does two, three strokes, cuts across these waters, 'she wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before.' Edna rebels in immoral and disagreeable ways. However, not even the temporary (false) freedom and (sly) satisfaction and (tyrannous) thrill provided by anything forbidden—as an aspiring painter, as a pining lover—satiates her soul. Every choice is impeded by a society only interested in making her a woman like a million others. What's left is to take the only thing she tightly clasps between her fingers; the only thing she owns, even if it has been (unsuccessfully )shaped into everyone's expectations. So she let the strong current swallow her, drag her down—willingly and wantonly for once. ( )
  lethalmauve | May 3, 2022 |
I came across this book when my nephew was reading it for school. First published in 1899, the book was famous (notorious) for its sympathetic portrayal of a woman in a loveless marriage who strays from her husband and responsibilities.
The book was lost from view for more than 50 years, and only came back to notice when a Norwegian academic wrote about it.
It's an OK book, nothing special. For me, the major interest was the historical context - the role of a woman and wife 120 years ago, and their limited opportunities to live a satisfying and productive life. While the role of women today may not be ideal, advances in education, employment, courtship and contraception mean that vastly fewer western women now face the stultifying existence of the main character of this book. ( )
  mbmackay | Apr 12, 2022 |
"But as she sat there amid her guests, she felt the old ennui overtaking her; the hopelessness which so often assailed her, which came upon her like an obsession, like something extraneous, independent of volition. It was something which announced itself; a chill breath that seemed to issue from some vast cavern wherein discords waited. There came over her the acute longing which always summoned into her spiritual vision the presence of the beloved one, overpowering her at once with a sense of the unattainable."
  roseandisabella | Mar 18, 2022 |
I once tried to read this book, quite some years ago, when I wasn't ready for it and I didn't finish it. But today, many years older (and hopefully wiser), I finally understood it. And it was everything. While I didn't actually like anyone in the book, I have to admire Chopin's determination to write something like this, to write Edna's boldness in wanting to be more than just a wife and a mother.
#booked2018 #feministclassic ( )
  RealLifeReading | Mar 11, 2022 |
A trailblazing novel in its time, kind of boring to the modern reader. ( )
  vampireacademia | Mar 1, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (53 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chopin, Kateprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Antupit, Samuel N.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, Sandra M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lammers, GeertjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, MarilynneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Showalter, ElaineIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, Deborah L.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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!"
Quotations
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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The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating mixed reaction from contemporary readers and criticism.The novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernist literature; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams.

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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."
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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400100313, 1400109078

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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