The Awakening, Kate Chopin
Novel, Fiction, Romance
The book best belongs to the romantic and realism movement, published around the romantic era. The author uses romanticism which focuses on emotion, inner life, and the appreciation of nature. The author also uses realism which emphasizes what is real (writing without metaphors, similes, and gets to point)
Kate Chopin 1850-1904: grew up in St. Louis without her father so women oversaw her house. She grew up learning the potential for independence and strength of a woman. Kate did not begin her writing career until the death of her husband. Her first novel was At Fault written in 1889. Most of her work was accepted by the public although people believed it held little to no importance in literature. Her most well-known book was The Awakening. The book held a lot of controversy and it has been said that Edna from the book is much like Kate herself. The book take place at both the Grand Isle and New Orleans during the late 19th century. In the Book Edna lives among the Cereol, which along with the vacation at Grand Isle plays a key part in her awakening.
-Edna and her husband vacationing at Grand Isle with their kids and other wealthy people from New Orleans. -Edna makes friends with the graceful and well respected Adele Ratignolle and her less wealthy friend Robert. – Edna drowns and in return felt awakened at the experience. – Robert leaves for Mexico with Edna deeply hurt. -Edna returns to New Orleans and begins to behave differently, neglecting her duties as a wife to take care of the household. -Her husband travels away to New York while her kids are at the country and she is left all alone. -Edna makes good friends with mademoiselle Riez a woman who was not widely liked. -She takes a liking to art – Edna develops a close relationship with a man named Arobin, .-Robert arrives back on New Orleans and admits his love for the married Edna. – Robert leaves a letter for Edna saying that because he loved her he must leave forever -A while later, Edna goes for a swim, thinking about society, her children, her husband, Robert, and her awakening.
Edna Pontellier-main character and protagonist, Leonce Pontellier-Edna’s Husband, Mademoiselle Riez- Edna’s friend and musician and widely not liked, Adele Ratignolle- Edna’s friend, and an ideal woman, Robert Lebrun-Man Edna falls in love with, Alcee Arobin-Man Edna has an affair with, Doctor Mandelt-family physician, The colonel-Edna’s father, Victor Lebrun- Robert’s younger brother, Madame Lebrun- widowed mother of Robert and victor, The Lady in Black-vacationer on grand isle, Mariequita-flirt who like both Robert and Victor.
Bird-the bird symbolizes strength in delicate forms and freedom. House-Houses symbolize the reflection and soul of the person living inside them Ocean- the ocean symbolizes freedom and in the book the change in Edna the became her awakening. Internal: Edna’s internal conflict with herself was about her guilt towards her relationship with her husband and children External: Edna’s conflict is with society and how it portrays woman’s roles. While Edna beliefs she is to be an individual, society wants women to live domestic lifestyles. The title “The Awakening” refers to Edna’s awakening in realizing that her life is trapped by her duty as a wife and mother. The awakening is her becoming conscious of who she is as she lives out the joys of freedom and passion. -men are often allowed to take passes for doing things that are deemed wrong for reputation, while women receive the full judgement of thing seen as wrong in the eyes of society. -finding out who you truly are can at times mean letting go of societies assumptions and barriers.
The Awakening is a novel about a woman’s hope and journey to live life as her true self while in fear and chained by societies judgement. -“In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her” (ch.6:describes the beginning of Edna’s awakening) -“she wondered if her husband had ever spoken to her like that before, and if she had submitted to his command” (ch.11: Edna begins to realize that she had put up to things that were wrong because according to the rules of society it was what she was meant to do.)-“I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself” (Ch.16: Edna in saying this is announcing how much her individuality means to her, how much being happy (herself) means) -“… looking at his wife as one looks at a piece of personal property that has suffered damage” (Ch.1- an example of how women were seen in society) -“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.
The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” (ch.6: symbolism of the ocean and an example of its significance in the book) -“… she was seeing with different eyes and making the acquaintance of new conditions in herself that colored and changed her environment, she did not yet suspect.” (ch.14 Edna is beginning see and relate to the world and her surroundings differently.) -“… he could not see that she was becoming herself and daily casting aside that factious self which we would assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.” (ch.19, example that even though Edna was becoming true to her self her actions where seen odd and wrong by society) -“I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier’s possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose. If he were to say, ‘Here, Robert, take her and be happy; she is yours,’ I should laugh at you both.” (ch.36: Edna proclaiming she would never be caged again. She now understand who she really is and what she wants.
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