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The Awakening

Kate Chopin

Book Overview: 

“The Awakening shocked turn-of-the-century readers with its forthright treatment of sex and suicide. Departing from literary convention, Kate Chopin failed to condemn her heroine’s desire for an affair with the son of a Louisiana resort owner, whom she meets on vacation. The power of sensuality, the delusion of ecstatic love, and the solitude that accompanies the trappings of middle- and upper-class life are the themes of this now-classic novel.” – As Kay Gibbons points out, Chopin “was writing American realism before most Americans could bear to hear that they were living it.”

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Why should you know? I never was so exhausted in my life. But it isn't unpleasant. A thousand emotions have swept through me to-night. I don't comprehend half of them. Don't mind what I'm saying; I am just thinking aloud. I wonder if I shall ever be stirred again as Mademoiselle Reisz's playing moved me to-night. I wonder if any night on earth will ever again be like this one. It is like a night in a dream. The people about me are like some uncanny, half-human beings. There must be spirits abroad to-night."

"There are," whispered Robert, "Didn't you know this was the twenty-eighth of August?"

"The twenty-eighth of August?"

"Yes. 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. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Most reviews of The Awakening begin with a qualification -- "For a woman of her time, Kate Chopin..." -- but not this one. I loved it from start to finish, loved it up, down, and sideways, loved it in a house, with a mouse, etc. It's an angsty American masterpiece -- a Catcher in the Rye for late 19

I loved this story for the beautiful writing and the intricate way of exploring the life of a tragic woman. I saw this as a tragic story, not as the example that feminists having been using it as for decades.

The feminist themes are there, no doubt, but I don't think that Chopin intended it to be use

The Awakening ~ A Review in Two Parts ~

Me, 20 years old, circa early ‘90s

Okay, so I just read The Awakening. What a novella before its time! You’ve got Edna Pontellier, manipulated into a stodgy marriage, her husband expecting her to conform to society’s rules and trappings. She now has 2 chi

I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for tragic love and a gloomy ending. For social and moral constraints pushing down until one suffocates. I’ve lived it. I caught my breath and clutched this book and had a completely personal reaction to the beauty and the agony.

Some of the one star reviews puzzle me,

This collection of Chopin’s short fiction has been languishing on my shelves for years. I had previously read, and not much cared for, one of the short stories featured here and it inhibited me from eagerly returning to the rest of this author’s work. I decided to space out this book’s contents over

The Awakening - 4.5*

I want to save and savor the other short stories for another time since I don't have other Kate Chopin works to read.


2019 update:

I actually meant to update my rating for "The Awakening" AGES ago because I ended up using the novella as my main piece of literature in my gigantic English Major Writing Seminar essay and I really found myself enjoying it the more I worked with it and its become my go-to novel w

I spent an entire afternoon reading the short stories in this book, enthralled and enraptured, skipping "luncheon" to bathe in the hedonistic tendencies of Chopin's women. I am now tempted to spent all of my student loans in some tailor's shop, a fine restaurant, a play. I am tempted to sleep with t

The Awakening
Kate Chopin was a Mom of five and unfortunately a Widow living in Louisiana. After her Husband's death she was left with a huge debt that was followed shortly after the loss of her Mother leaving her extremely depressed. Chopin's Doctor suggested she write for therapeutic and finances t

With several hours to kill before an appointment, I decided to pop inside a bookstore to pick up something "short but old." In pursuit of this end, I solicited the aid of the shop lady—one of those former English majors who've evidently forgotten everything they might have once learned in university

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