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The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (edition 2005)

by Kate Chopin (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
553632,971 (4.03)11
The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction, by Kate Chopin, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:     New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars     Biographies of the authors     Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events     Footnotes and endnotes     Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work     Comments by other famous authors     Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations     Bibliographies for further reading     Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences--biographical, historical, and literary--to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. When it first appeared in 1899, Kate Chopin's The Awakening was greeted with cries of outrage. The novel's frank portrayal of a woman's emotional, intellectual, and sexual awakening shocked the sensibilities of the time and destroyed the author's reputation and career. Many years passed before this short, pioneering work was recognized as a major achievement in American literature. Set in and around New Orleans, The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother who, determined to control her own life, flouts convention by moving out of her husband's house, having an adulterous affair, and becoming an artist. Beautifully written, with sensuous imagery and vivid local descriptions, The Awakening has lost none of its power to provoke and inspire. Additionally, this edition includes thirteen of Kate Chopin's magnificent short stories. Stories Included in the Volume: The Awakening Emancipation: A Life Fable A Shameful Affair At the 'Cadian Ball Désirée's Baby A Gentleman of Bayou Têche A Respectable Woman The Story of an Hour Athénaïse A Pair of Silk Stockings Elizabeth Stock's One Story The Storm The Godmother A Little Country Girl  … (more)
Member:mrschacon
Title:The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Authors:Kate Chopin (Author)
Info:Barnes & Noble Classics (2005), Edition: 1st Edition, 288 pages
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The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction by Kate Chopin

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From the novella of the title:
It sometimes entered Mr. Pontellier’s mind to wonder if his wife were not growing a little unbalanced mentally. He could see plainly that she was not herself. That is, he could not see that she was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.

And from “Athenaise,” one of the 13 accompanying short stories:
Cazeau had always so much to do; but among the many urgent calls upon him, the task of bringing his wife back to a sense of her duty seemed to him for the moment paramount.

I read this collection of women seeking their personhoods last month during Banned Books Week, and can understand why they were intensely controversial when published in the very-late 1800s. Some of the women are married to prominent husbands, with young children, beautiful homes and servants, and lofty social standings ... and they aren’t much interested in any of it. Others have very limited means. And when they gradually awaken to their frank disinterest and disilluson, they find themselves hopeless in a society unable to deal with them.

I felt terrifically immersed in time and place (southern U.S., particularly New Orleans) and thought several times of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. I especially enjoyed the surprising and ironic Desiree’s Baby, the poignant A Pair of Silk Stockings, and one of my all-time favorites, The Story of an Hour.

----------

A shocking aside: In the novella, written more than a hundred years before Hurricane Katrina, Chopin associates an (apparently invented) New Orleans legend with Edna Pontellier’s awakening:
On the twenty-eighth of August, at the hour of midnight, and if the moon is shining -- the moon must be shining -- a spirit that has haunted these shores for ages rises up from the Gulf. With its own penetrating vision the spirit seeks some one mortal worthy to hold him company, worthy of being exalted for a few hours into realms of the semi-celestials. His search has always hitherto been fruitless, and he has sunk back, disheartened, into the sea. But to-night he found Mrs. Pontellier." ( )
1 vote DetailMuse | Nov 2, 2012 |
I wanted to like The Awakening, I really did. As a strong, independent woman, I know it is my duty to celebrate others like me, whether real or fictional. But good Lord, Edna Pontellier has got to be one of the most unsympathetic, frustrating, and annoying heroines in all of literature.

Yes, her husband was a boor, her life was a bore, and she felt stifled. I can understand that and sympathize with it, and I applauded her small declarations of independence. What I could not get past, though, was the never ending internal struggle and swings of mood and emotion from one extreme to the other. I think this book is less a classic of feminist fiction and more an early exploration of bipolarity.

I will say no more so as not to give anything away. The novella is beautifully written, with incredibly evocative descriptions of place, home, weather, etc. The strength and beauty of the writing earned this one an extra star for that alone, bumping it up from a paltry two. ( )
  katiekrug | Feb 21, 2011 |
I found the more I read of The Awakening the more I got into it. The last few chapters were rather enjoyable. A classic feminist text, worth the effort if you are interested in the cause. ( )
  jackichan | Sep 5, 2010 |
Edna, an obedient housewife, wants more from life. She's not really the housewife, motherly type. She's not fond of her children. She wants to be free to go after her own desires and it is this which, in the end, claims her life.

The book, as a story, is okay. It's kind of slow and doesn't really go anywhere. I might not have finished it if it hadn't been read for a class. But I don't regret the time I spent reading it either.

As a piece of feminist literature, however, this book is amazing. It shows the birth of the "new woman" and the struggle women had paving a way for their own independence. I think most disturbing is the fact that, despite everything Edna does to create her own life where she can fulfill her own desires, it all amounts to nothing. She's trapped in a male dominated society. In the end, rather than give up her own desires, she commits suicide. The more I read of this book, the more I'm glad I'm born now when it's no longer expected of me to be docile and produce babies.

All in all, it's not bad. I don't think I'll be reading it again any time soon though. If you enjoy feminist literature, I would recommend this book. If you're looking more for a good story, this might not be the best book for you.

3 stars. ( )
  RebeccaAnn | Feb 6, 2010 |
Edna Pontellier discovers her own desires - artistic, financial, and social independence - as she matures and her marriage ages. She begins to exercise personal choices, then realizes that society is not ready to accept them. ( )
  novelrdr | Aug 26, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Chopinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Adams, RachelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over:

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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Contains the novel The Awakening and 13 other short stories (see description for exact titles)
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The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction, by Kate Chopin, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:     New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars     Biographies of the authors     Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events     Footnotes and endnotes     Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work     Comments by other famous authors     Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations     Bibliographies for further reading     Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences--biographical, historical, and literary--to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. When it first appeared in 1899, Kate Chopin's The Awakening was greeted with cries of outrage. The novel's frank portrayal of a woman's emotional, intellectual, and sexual awakening shocked the sensibilities of the time and destroyed the author's reputation and career. Many years passed before this short, pioneering work was recognized as a major achievement in American literature. Set in and around New Orleans, The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother who, determined to control her own life, flouts convention by moving out of her husband's house, having an adulterous affair, and becoming an artist. Beautifully written, with sensuous imagery and vivid local descriptions, The Awakening has lost none of its power to provoke and inspire. Additionally, this edition includes thirteen of Kate Chopin's magnificent short stories. Stories Included in the Volume: The Awakening Emancipation: A Life Fable A Shameful Affair At the 'Cadian Ball Désirée's Baby A Gentleman of Bayou Têche A Respectable Woman The Story of an Hour Athénaïse A Pair of Silk Stockings Elizabeth Stock's One Story The Storm The Godmother A Little Country Girl  

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Set in and around New Orleans, The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother who, determined to control her own life, flouts convention by moving out of her husband’s house, having an adulterous affair, and becoming an artist.

Stories Included in the Volume:
The Awakening, Emancipation: A Life Fable
A Shameful Affair
At the ‘Cadian Ball
Désirée’s Baby
A Gentleman of Bayou Têche
A Respectable Woman
The Story of an Hour
Athénaïse
A Pair of Silk Stockings
Elizabeth Stock’s One Story
The Storm
The Godmother
A Little Country Girl

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