The Awakening by Kate Chopin

September 19, 2012
By Sara Shaw BRONZE, Oxford, Massachusetts
Sara Shaw BRONZE, Oxford, Massachusetts
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One of Kate Chopin’s most controversial novels, The Awakening, tells a story of the deep south of the Louisiana bayou, where a classic housewife lived. Edna Pontellier, the main character, was a young, attractive, bold and daring woman for her time. Being set in the early 1800’s, this short novel shares a tale of her lust and infidelity. Filled with shock and deep thought, Chopin leaves an open ended conclusion which makes the mind wonder, is suicide the ultimate freedom for Edna from her society?
Chopin keeps the readers mind thinking throughout this short novel as a transformation from an acceptable housewife to a sexually curious female takes a toll on the society of the south. Who knew such a drastic measurement could be taken in such times. The novel was not originally allowed to be published for its blasphemy but is now known for being an early view to women’s emancipation. Edna’s growth through the novel exemplifies the notion of a woman’s freedom of choosing one’s own fate, and not just being the one at home with the children. The ways she chooses to release herself upon other men are extraordinary to the point where Edna wants to truly freeing herself. Yet it is up to the reader to ultimately choose whether her decision was worthwhile.

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