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The Awakening Paperback – Nov 4 1993

3.9 out of 5 stars 279 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; NEW edition (Nov. 4 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486277860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486277868
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 9 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 279 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

When first published in 1899, The Awakening shocked readers with its honest treatment of female marital infidelity. Audiences accustomed to the pieties of late Victorian romantic fiction were taken aback by Chopin's daring portrayal of a woman trapped in a stifling marriage, who seeks and finds passionate physical love outside the straitened confines of her domestic situation.
Aside from its unusually frank treatment of a then-controversial subject, the novel is widely admired today for its literary qualities. Edmund Wilson characterized it as a work "quite uninhibited and beautifully written, which anticipates D. H. Lawrence in its treatment of infidelity."
Although the theme of marital infidelity no longer shocks, few novels have plumbed the psychology of a woman involved in an illicit relationship with the perception, artistry, and honesty that Kate Chopin brought to The Awakening. Now available in this inexpensive edition, it offers a powerful and provocative reading experience to modern readers.

About the Author

A precursor of the 20th century's feminist authors, Kate Chopin (1850–1904) wrote short stories and novels for children and adults. The St. Louis native lived in New Orleans for a dozen years and set most of her tales amid Louisiana's Creole culture. Many of her stories were well ahead of their time, and she achieved widespread acclaim only after her death.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Sept. 7 2008
Format: Paperback
The lot of women in the 19th century wasn't a terribly impressive one -- many of them had been reduced to babymakers and inoffensive "property" for the men.

And Kate Chopin caused a massive scandal when she wrote about one woman who drifted from societal normal in "The Awakening," leading to a world of exploration, love, and ultimately tragedy. Her misty, vaguely dreamlike writing can pull a reader into the world of 1900s New Orleans and its society, but her heroine sometimes feels more like a vessel than a fully-realized person.

Edna Pontellier is the wife of successful New Orleans businessman Léonce, and mother of two lovely young boys. Yet she is dissatisfied by her life, and feels no connection to the other wives and mothers, who idolize their motherhood and subservience. And when she encounters handsome young Creole Robert Lebrun while on vacation, she begins to "awake" to the feelings she has left behind during her marriage.

Distancing herself from Leonce and her sons, Edna begins exploring art and emotions that have been denied her by the strictures of her society -- as well as an affair with the flirtatious Alcée Arobin. She even moves out into a cottage of her own, much to the horror of those who thought they knew her. Her romantic feelings have not moved on from Robert, but his return makes her realize how different she has become...

Kate Chopin's most famous work is often cited as a sort of proto-feminist work, with a woman rebelling against the male-dominated role she has been given. The fact that a story about a woman abandoning her husband and kids caused such a scandal only adds to that belief.
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By A Customer on April 14 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
We read this book for high school english class. Although it was written beautifully, and at times i could sympathize with Edna's character, i could not help but think she was a bad person by the end of the book. Although she did reach self-actualization, she did so without any responsibility shown towards the people close to her. She cheated on her husband, and then cheated on the man that she was having an affair with with someone else, hardly feeling any guilt for any of it. She also neglected her children, and treated them as if they were antagonists. Although I can understand her plight to become an independant woman and go beyond her society, the way that she attempted this made her a bad person, and she (arguably) failed at her task anyway. Her life, even though she said she was independent, ended when the man she was having an affair with left her. After that, she kills herself. Had she had the courage to separate from her husband (despite her society) and pursue Robert, or even if she didn't get him at the end, but still lived on just as much a woman then before rejection, THEN this book would be feminist. Otherwise its simply immorality disguised as feminism. If a man had done all the things she has in this novel, no one would be arguing whether the character was good or not.
besides the problem i had with the themes and plot, it was a very well written book, and i don't agree with it being censored. It was far ahead of it's time, and may be worth a read..Just don't expect too much out of it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, is one of the most classic examples of the books of liberation. First published at the end of the 1890s, depicts the life of an American woman named Edna married and socialized among a circle of Creoles (immigrants of the French ancestry). Every summer, her family and the Creoles go on vacation to an island. This one particular summer, Edna falls in love with a young creole named Robert. This agonizing love affair between a married woman and a younger man propelled Edna to a series of self liberation. Kate Chopin throws in the idea of "the desire of the unabtainable", such as a nun would be a subject of desire, namely the more unreachable the more desirable. Edna, a married woman, is in this book, the unabtainable. Another issue about this book, which Chopin was very severly criticized (well.. it was the 1890s afterall, but the book was revived with acclaim in the 1950s during the woman's movement) was feminism. Edna says in the book the she will do anything for her children but she will not sacrifice herself...
However, the biggest controversy is the ending. Whether it is another awakening or something else (you should decide it for yourself), I think the book should have gone with its original title- A Solitary Soul.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When my friend and I ran across a list of 101 books that were recommended to be read before college, we realized we had only read a small percentage of the books and made a vow to read more. One of the books on the list was "The Awakening," and as we had studied Kate Chopin in school and it was readily available online, we decided to both read it. Both of us had read it by the next day, and we both reached the same conclusion: Chopin's protagonist, Edna, was a selfish woman who was not strong at all, as a truly strong woman would have continued on even after the man she loved left her.
The book is written beautifully, hence the two stars. But Edna is completely unidentifiable. She is twenty-eight, yet she seems to do everything on impulse. Yes, maybe she did rush irrationally into an ultimately loveless marriage -- but her husband is not a monster, so doesn't she at least owe him some consideration? Not to mention her children -- she seems to not have the slightest regard for them, only showing affection in fits and starts.
This book should be read, if only to show what strength is not -- strength is not what Edna does in the end of this story. However, you may find yourself struggling to get through it, as Edna is often very frustrating. In conclusion -- this is NOT feminism. In fact, before reading this story I had immense respect for Kate Chopin, respect gained from reading her short stories. I lost some of that respect after seeing what she apparently believed was the solution for Edna's problems.
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