"The Awakening" by Kate Chopin

The Awakening indeed!  Twenty-eight year old Edna Pontellier finds herself stuck leading a life of illusion.  There is very little that she would consider “real”, and has therefore lost her passion for living.  She slowly realizes that her marriage is not exactly perfect, nor filled with love.  Her husband is selfish and is basically only concerned with appearances.  This realization blossoms into a fierce desire to be independent and a craving for passion in her life.  She questions everything, and begins searching within herself and starts to paint again… and then she starts searching within the arms of men who are not her husband.

In this fashion, she proceeds to dismantle her life.  Upon seeing that she is unable to truly have what she really wants, she makes the final decision which honestly surprised me.  Seriously.  I didn’t realize that was the end of the story.  Once I regained my composure, I sat back; happy.

This book was quite scandalous in its time.  To think, a woman choosing against a well-established husband and family?  Following her own desires, and not the habits set forth by acceptable society?  Yes, this was sure to wreak havoc on the impressionable female readers.

I really enjoyed how Edna started to question the “norms” of her life, and how she started to assert her individuality.  The scene in which she attempts to stay up later than her husband made me laugh with his ridiculous stubbornness.  Then, for her to progressively challenge her husband’s “authority” as the book continues just becomes easier as she gains self-confidence.  This is a great read, and one that I wish I had read a long time ago.

*****
The Awakening
by Kate Chopin
Bantam Classic Reissue 2003; first published 1899
157 pages
Source:  Traded for a Used Copy
*****
Links for purchase:
Amazon
Shop Your Indie Bookstore!
The Book Depository

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