Romanticism, Realism and Local Color in The Awakening

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Romanticism, Realism and Local Color in The Awakening

Kate Chopin is an author who was born in 1851 and died in 1904. Her father died when she was young, and her husband died when she was thirty-one leaving her with six children. Due to this, she had little male influence throughout her life. This may possibly be why she had so little inhibition when writing her novels. She seemed to concentrate on the oppression of women and presented socially unacceptable ideas at the time of their publication. Although Kate Chopin stirred up great controversy in her time, today her novels, short stories, and poems are often regarded as great literary works that incorporate bold concepts, grim social realities, and also elements of romance. One such novel of Chopin's that embodies these characteristics is The Awakening, first published in 1899. At the time of its release, men held the reigns of society and women basically catered to their every whim. Acts, such as adultery and the abandonment of children, were rarely committed, and they especially were not discussed. The Awakening came as a shock to society as Kate Chopin presented a novel that developed her opinions through examples of Romantic, Realistic, and local color writing.

Like many novels of its time, The Awakening is an example of Romanticism. Romanticism can be defined as a literary or art movement of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century that emphasizes individualism, love of nature, celebration of common man, freedom, emotion, exotic worlds, fantasy, and a tendency to look to the past. The Awakening's main character, ...

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...s examples of local color help to intensify the characters, setting, and conflict.

Chopin showed what a talented writer she was by her incorporation of Romanticism, Realism, and local color in her novel The Awakening. She combined these elements to add dimension to her writing and further develop her thoughts and ideas. Kate Chopin was not a typical writer nor was she a typical person. As shown in her book, The Awakening, she was audacious and wrote about what she truly felt rather than what was expected of her. Literary devices, such as romance, realistic events, and local color, do add a volume to novels, but without Chopin's skill in using these devices, this novel would not have been the eye-opening masterpiece it is today.
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