The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Powerful Essays
Kate Chopin, inspired through her strong-willed widowed mother and grandmother, wrote inspiring stories of female heroines that were rejected by a society unwilling to accept Chopin’s risqué subjects. She was born into an affluent family on February 8th, 1851 in St. Louis, Missouri. She attended convent schools where she was strongly encouraged to pursue her writing career. She spent much of her free time by herself, in her attic, reading vigorously. Her mother and grandmother strongly encouraged her to think for herself and pursue her interests. After her graduation from Sacred Heart Academy in 1868, she married Oscar Chopin. Sadly, Oscar Chopin died in 1882 due to malaria leaving Kate in great debt. She started her writing career off by publishing stories in magazines like Vogue, Atlantic Monthly, and Harper’s. Most of Chopin’s stories are centered on women whom were forced to cope with situations such as prostitution, disease, and abuse.
Chopin was best known for her publication of The Awakening in 1889, but it was quickly condemned after she had written it. The unsettling material within it brought her writing career to a quick halt. People were accustomed to romantic fiction and were greatly disturbed by Chopin’s female protagonist, Edna Pontellier, because of her scandalous affairs she had with other men outside of her marriage. Chopin died on August 22nd, 1904 from a cerebral hemorrhage, so she never experienced people admiring her novel. It was not until the 1960s when The Awakening was finally recognized and noted for the strong female heroines. Since The Awakening, Chopin was not able to see another one of her works published, but in 1969 her most graphic short story was finally published, “The Storm”. Even though Chopin...

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...ey resulted in her suicide leaving the reader with the deciding factor of whether her act was out of courage or selfishness. This illuminates how people will go to any extent to try to prove themselves to their own self. Edna went as far taking her own life rather than loosing her identity by suppressing to standards of society. Identity is key to human survival; we all crave it in our own lives.

Works Cited
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. New York: Bantam, 2003. Print.
Kort, Carol. "Chopin, Kate." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.
Rowe, John Carlos. "The Economics of the Body in Kate Chopin's The Awakening." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.
Schweitzer, Ivy. "Maternal Discourse and the Romance of Self-Possession in Kate Chopin's The Awakening." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.
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