The Awakening by Kate Chopin

March 18, 2008
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The Awakening is a novel about a woman named Edna Pontiellier. Edna is married to a New Orleans businessman; together, they have two sons. This novel takes place around 1899. In this year Edna is 28 years old. Edna spends the summer with her family at Grand Isle where she meets a man name Robert. “There was no one thing in the world that she desired. There was no human being whom she wanted near her except Robert” (Page 188-189), this man makes her more aware of changes in her feelings. She respects her husband, but throughout the novel finds that she does not love him. She tries to withstand her feelings in the beginning because of the love she has for her two children.
This novel shows a young woman on her journey of self-understanding. Since she cannot fight her feelings any longer, she decides to do things she wants to do, not things she is expected to do as a mother and wife. She finds herself caring more and more about this man, but when he suddenly leaves, she becomes lonely. As the summer fades away, the family returns to New Orleans and her feelings do not lessen.
This novel proves how not all women have the desire to be a wife and a mother. Edna said, “The children appeared before her like antagonists who had overcome her, who had overpowered and sought to drag her into the soul's slavery for the rest of her days” (Page 189), this isn't something we usually hear from women who have children. Due to her upbringing and her class, she does not know what the standards of being a wife and a mother mean. In result, she tries to quench her thirst for adventure, and discovers the courage to explore what she can be. When women do not feel wanted, a sense of desire is left empty usually leading to an affair.
The Awakening was a very risky novel for this time. Back in 1899, a woman would not dare to rebel against her husband and abandon her children, or a picturesque life, let alone have an affair. Even though the principle of the story changes as the times change, this novel can influence how women live their lives, and how their roles in society change.
I can not agree with this novel, I think this is because I have been able to become my own person with no persecution my life. I will choose someday to be a wife and mother, but I will not limit myself to those roles. I often think about how Edna could desert her family and betray the ones she loved, especially when she says, “She thought of Leonce and the children they were a part of her life. But they need not have thought that they could posses her, body and soul. (Page 190) Children should be a gift; they should be loved and taken care of, with a sense of pride and understanding rather than out of spit. Many books like this influence how women perceive life. Unlike Edna, I will look forward to the journey of motherhood and marriage to the fullest extent possible.

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