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The Awakening (1899)

by Kate Chopin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,934177851 (3.61)534
Unsatisfied with the expectations of Creole society and unhappy with her family life, Edna Pontellier begins to fall in love with the dapper Robert Lebrun. Lebrun's flirtations, along with the lifestyle of renown musician Mademoiselle Reisz, rejuvenates Edna's sense of freedom and independence. However, an affair with the womanizer Alcee Arobin provides Edna with a taste of the danger that comes with living outside of social convention. Trapped between the life she is expected to live and the life she longs to lead, will Edna find happiness?… (more)
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English (174)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (179)
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
A slow, short, but pretty amazing novel and I see why it's as influential as it is.

The plot focuses on a woman finding herself. Finding her individualism and rebelling against the conformative expectations of society. Infidelity is the plot vehicle this is done through, and I feel like people really get caught up on this, but ultimately, I don't think the crux of the book is about infidelity, rather marriage is just a symbol for conformity and female oppression. That being said, some moments of writing referring to the affair are beautifully written, Chopin really hits her stride when she was writing about their relationship.

Ending was powerful, but felt super rushed. Really wished it would have been expanded upon a bit.

Favorite Quote:

"She had tried to forget him, realizing the inutility of remembering. But the thought of him was like an obsession, ever pressing itself upon her. It was not that she dwelt upon details of their acquaintance, or recalled in any special or peculiar way his personality; it was his being, his existence, which dominated her thought, fading sometimes as if it would melt into the mist of the forgotten, reviving again with an intensity which filled her with an incomprehensible longing." ( )
  Andjhostet | Jul 4, 2023 |
The first half of this novel takes place on the seashore of the Gulf of Mexico, and Chopin vividly conveys the experience of spending leisure time on the coast in the summer: late-night dinners, midnight swims, watching the water for hours in the afternoon.

My other impressions of the novel pale in comparison to my pleasure at her understanding of the private beach scene, but I liked it. Edna awakens to become a self-absorbed, childish and alienated loner; the patriarchy proves resilient; fairy-tale endings are eschewed. ( )
  proustbot | Jun 19, 2023 |
There's a great chance this book could have been a five star read for me, but unfortunately my edition had a "prologue". It seemed like it was intended to be read prior to reading the book. It was in front of the first chapter. It was a very in depth analysis of the story, and within the first several pages of it, it immediately spoiled the ending.

Are you kidding me?

I immediately ceased reading the prologue and went right to the story, but the damage was done. I knew the ending, and I couldn't unknow it.

The story itself is of a woman who is constrained by the expectations of society. She's married with two small sons and living a traditional life. The Awakening tells the story of how she awakens and in some ways succumbs to her own yearnings to break free and follow her feelings toward another man, Robert. While I am sure at the time of its writing, this book was groundbreaking to some degree, I actually think the stress that Edna feels between duty and happiness, contraints and freedom, still hold true today. While this book is a piece of feminist literature, in reality, Edna's plight is just a human one. ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
"But when she was there beside the sea, absolutely alone, she cast the unpleasant, pricking garments from her, and for the first time in her life she stood naked in the open air, at the mercy of the sun, the breeze that beat upon her, and the waves that invited her."

Peace and acceptance of the supreme loneliness of being human found in suicide... Truly not the story I should be reading, but definitely the story I needed. The ending is so happy to me—Edna finds her freedom and her peace in existing alone. I wish so desperately to find that one day too (perhaps with a bit less suicide). ( )
  Eavans | Feb 17, 2023 |
Apparently when The Awakening by Kate Chopin was first published in 1899, it shocked readers with it’s story of a wife’s marital infidelity. The author’s tale of a woman trapped in a stifling marriage who seeks outside fulfillment was considered extremely controversial.

Personally I wasn’t very engaged by this story. I really didn’t like the main character, Edna, finding her too wishy-washy, too unsure of herself and what she wants from life. It didn’t really bother me that was a rather neglectful mother and wife, but she seems to drift through life, expecting others to fill in her gaps. At first she has Robert who spends all his time with her while she is vacationing. She rather takes him for granted until he leaves for Mexico, then she decides that she loves him but when he doesn’t write or come back to her, she allows herself to fall into another relationship with a notorious womanizer. When Robert returns, she once again realizes that it’s him that she loves but when her friend begs her to think of her children, she realizes that society will never accept her leaving her husband and children for Robert.

There are a number of books written about this subject including Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina and I quite frankly had more sympathy for each of those characters. Edna Pontellier acknowledges her awakening and her urge to break free from restrictions placed on her by society, but when push comes to shove, she takes an entirely different route to freedom. For all of that, The Awakening is a classic of American Literature and a well done example of feminist writing. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 12, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chopin, Kateprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Antupit, Samuel N.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Basinger, KimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conlin, GraceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frasier, ShellyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, Sandra M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klein, LaurieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lammers, GeertjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Karma, AlexandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, MarilynneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, Lizasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, LizaNarratorsecondary 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!"
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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Unsatisfied with the expectations of Creole society and unhappy with her family life, Edna Pontellier begins to fall in love with the dapper Robert Lebrun. Lebrun's flirtations, along with the lifestyle of renown musician Mademoiselle Reisz, rejuvenates Edna's sense of freedom and independence. However, an affair with the womanizer Alcee Arobin provides Edna with a taste of the danger that comes with living outside of social convention. Trapped between the life she is expected to live and the life she longs to lead, will Edna find happiness?

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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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