The Awakening Essay

The Awakening Essay

Length: 1225 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


American author Kate Chopin wrote two published novels and about a hundred short stories in the 1890s Most of her fiction is set in Louisiana and most of her best-known work focuses on the lives of sensitive, intelligent women. Her short stories were well received in her own time and were published by some of America’s most prestigious magazines—Vogue, the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s Young People, and Century. Her early novel At Fault (1890) had not been much noticed by the public, but The Awakening (1899) was widely condemned. Critics called it morbid, vulgar, and disagreeable (Kate Chopin Biography).
Throughout the novel, The Awakening, Chopin establishes the feminist view in the book. The Awakening explores one woman’s desire to find and live fully within her true self. Her devotion to that purposes causes friction with her friends and family, and also conflicts with the dominant values of her time. Her primary thought throughout the book is that women shouldn’t do what society always tells them. Sometimes people need to find their true selves and when we do that we find our true happiness and sometimes you gain things you never had or thought you needed. In the book, Edna begins the process of identifying her true self, the self that exists apart from the identity she maintains as a wife and mother, Robert unknowingly encourages her by indulging her emerging sensuality (Houghton).
Kate Chopin wrote The Awakening to show people of the nineteenth century society and the upcoming generations, how hard women had to struggle to overcome their differing emotions and the coercion of society’s tradition to become more than just personal property for men to control. Stated by Mademoiselle Reiz: “the bird that would ...


... middle of paper ...


...y, Peter. Beginning Theory. Second Edition. Manchester U Press, 2002
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening [1899]. 2nd ed. Ed. Margo Culley. New York: Norton,
1994.
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening and Other Stories. New York: Oxford University
Press, Oxford World’s Classics, 2008.
Culley, Margo, ed. “Editor’s Note: History of the Criticism of The Awakening—
Contemporary Reviews.” Kate Chopin, The Awakening. 2nd ed. Ed. Margo
Culley. New York: Norton, 1994, 159-73
Papke, Mary E. Verging On the Abyss: The Social Fiction of Kate Chopin and Edith
Wharton. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.
Showwalter, Elaine. Tradition and the Female Talent: The Awakening as a Solitary Book.
Feminist Criticism Essay. Second Edition. Bedford/ St. Martin’s: New York, 2000
Toth, Emily. “A Woman Ahead of Her Time.” Accessed 3-19-2007
http://www.angelfire.com/nv/English243/Chopin.html

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Identity and Society's Expectations In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening Essay

- In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Edna Pontellier’s suicide is an assertion of her independence and contributes to Chopin’s message that to be independent one must choose between personal desires and societal expectations. Chopin conveys this message through Edna’s reasons for committing suicide and how doing so leads her to total independence. Unlike the other women of Victorian society, Edna is unwilling to suppress her personal identity and desires for the benefit of her family. She begins “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” (35)....   [tags: the awakening]

Strong Essays
598 words (1.7 pages)

Kate Chopin’s The Awakening - The Feminist Awakening Essay

- The Feminist Awakening   Women’s rights have evolved over time; beginning with being homemakers and evolving to obtaining professions, acquiring an education, and gaining the right to vote. The movement that created all these revolutionary changes was called the feminist movement. The feminist movement occurred in the twentieth century. Many people are not aware of the purpose of the feminist movement. The movement was political and social and it sought to set up equality for women. Women’s groups in the United States worked together to win women’s suffrage and later to create and support the Equal Rights Amendment....   [tags: Kate Chopin, The Awakening]

Strong Essays
2101 words (6 pages)

Essay on The Awakening

- Critical Views of The Awakening       The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, is full of ideas and understanding about human nature. In Chopin's time, writing a story with such great attention to sensual details in both men and women caused skepticism among readers and critics. However, many critics have different views with deeper thought given to The Awakening. Symbolism, the interpretation of Edna's suicide, and awakenings play important roles in the analysis of all critics.   Symbolism in The Awakening is interpreted in many ways....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Strong Essays
728 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on The Awakening

- Criticism of The Awakening      Reading through all of the different criticism of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening has brought about ideas and revelations that I had never considered during my initial reading of the novel.  When I first read the text, I viewed it as a great work of art to be revered.  However, as I read through all of the passages, I began to examine Chopin’s work more critically and to see the weaknesses and strengths of her novel.  Reading through others' interpretations of her novel has also brought forth new concepts to look at again....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Strong Essays
726 words (2.1 pages)

Love in The Awakening Essay

- Perspectives on Love in The Awakening Though Kate Chopin wrote her novel, The Awakening, in the late nineteenth century, her insight of such things as love, romance, and relationships is remarkably modern. Through Mr. Pontellier, Edna Pontellier, and Robert Lebrun, Chopin presents her opinions of love versus "romantic love." Chopin uses the Pontellier's marriage to predict the modern view of love and the relationship between Edna and Robert to portray the concept of romantic love....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Strong Essays
872 words (2.5 pages)

Freedom Awakening Essay

- “I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself” (62). Edna tries explaining to Madame Ratignolle that this is something she is just beginning to understand from herself. She does not know why but she cannot bring herself to give up herself for her kids. The author Kate Chopin, who wrote the book The Awakening, explains through her novel societies’ demands and wishes for a woman, such as Edna, with a family. The book takes place in the late 19th century in New Orleans. In this time period however, Edna must become the obedient wife and stay home to take care of her kids and her husband....   [tags: The Awakening, Kate Chopin]

Strong Essays
974 words (2.8 pages)

Sexual Fulfillment in Chopin's Awakening Essays

- Society keeps order, allows for advancement, and gives humanity a good face. It also imposes morals, roles, and limits a person's potential development. If someone wishes to reach beyond what society expects of them, they must cast aside social restrictions. Edna Pontellier, in Kate Chopin's The Awakening, feels the urge to cast off the veil society burdens her with and live as she chooses to. The driving factor behind her desire to awaken is her lack of sexual fulfillment. She lives her life following conduct becoming of a woman who marries into the Creole elite of New Orleans....   [tags: The Awakening Essays]

Strong Essays
886 words (2.5 pages)

Free Awakening Essays: The Creole Men of The Awakening

- Creole men of The Awakening Thesis: In Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening the characters of the Creole men are diverse and different as the character Edna. Most of Kate Chopin’s stories center around a Woman unsatisfied with her position in life, while living in a man dominated society. The three main characters are typical men of that era. Chopin shows the diversity in each of those three characters. Roberts awakening, and the struggle to do what is the right thing. Alcee and how he is carefree and not concerned with society’s expectations of him, and so has a reputation....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Free Essays
3202 words (9.1 pages)

Edna’s Symbolic Swim in The Awakening Essay

- Edna’s Symbolic Swim in The Awakening Reading through The Awakening for the first time, a passage in chapter X intrigued me: Edna’s first successful swim. I begin my close reading halfway through page 49, “But that night she was like the little tottering, stumbling, clutching child, who of a sudden realizes its powers, and walks for the first time alone, boldly and with over-confidence.” Her success is sudden and in spite of assistance from “the men and women; in some instances from the children” throughout the summer....   [tags: Chopin Awakening]

Free Essays
528 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on A Futile Awakening

- Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, transcends societal structures and expectations. It deals with the day-to-day realities that a woman must face if she is to progress to full maturation and become at peace with herself and the world. Set in turn-of-the-century Creole New Orleans, it addresses the relentless strength and courage required for a woman to remain true to her convictions. Most studies of The Awakening focus on Edna Pontellier's newly emerged awareness and struggle against the societal forces that repress her....   [tags: Kate Chopin's The Awakening]

Strong Essays
3448 words (9.9 pages)