The Awakening

1225 Words5 Pages
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
Open Document