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The Awakening (Unabridged)
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The Awakening (Unabridged) [Audio Download]

by Kate Chopin (Author), Grace Conlin (Narrator)
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 4 hours and 59 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 21 Jun 2001
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SQ8WMW
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Although originally published in 1899, this book's leading character, Edna Pontellier, could be mistaken for a modern day liberated woman. In the summer of her 28th year, as she watched numerous mothers on a beach, she vowed to honor the deep yearnings within herself that she sensed were unfulfilled by marriage and motherhood. She abandoned her conventional role in life and made for herself a controversial and ultimately destructive life.
(P)1994 by Blackstone Audiobooks

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Godsend to students of the text 27 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Falling somewhere between a long short story and a short novel at 110 pages long, 'The Awakening' manages to tell the complex tale of one woman's self-discovery in a very simple and eminently readable way. Edna's means of escape from her mundane marriage, her affairs and her eventual suicide, may be reminiscent of the plot to Madame Bovary but there the similarities would seem to end. For Chopin does not share Flaubert's grim dedcation to reality. The physical landscapes of Edna's world in light of her new found elation are so evocatively related that the novel takes on a beautiful, almost cinematic, feel. Yet Chopin's characters are also realistic. Monsieur Pontellier in particular is delightfully well drawn, and there are many moments of astute social humour to be found in this novel. This edition would be of particular help to those studying the text as it contains a large selection of critical analysis as well as contemporary newspaper reviews. It also includes period fashion plates, a discussion on the merits of the Creole lady and numerous other articles that together give a better understanding of the Edna's actions in their cultural and historical context. The Victorian guide to etiquette is fascinating reading in its own right.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time; ahead of the pack 9 Mar 2003
By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE
A century after the publication of Kate Chopin's novel, its themes -- a woman's awakening to the full potential of her sexual passion and her sense of being smothered by marriage and motherhood -- have become the staple ingredients of 'chick lit'. It is thus easy to overlook how revolutionary and shocking the events and ideas of this story must have seemed at the time. Then, the book was banned from public libraries in America; now, it is required reading in schools.
In many ways, both in theme and treatment, it resembles "Madame Bovary". Although Chopin lacks Flaubert's scope and breadth of vision, she reaches deeper into the soul of her heroine. Her style is restrained and elegant and some modern readers, accustomed to a pacier and more explicit treatment, may grow impatient at times. But there is beautiful writing here, embodying rich characterizations, strong evocations of time and place and thought-provoking moral ambiguity. An undoubted masterpiece.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And then she woke up 10 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Hailed as a feminist classic in the 1970s, this novel was banned at the time of its publication in 1890s America, where it one reviewer called it "gilded dirt". It breeched several conventions of the time being open about the possibility of adultery and the need for women to be more than the standard "angel at the hearth" figure, in thrall to the requirements of husband and children. In a time when women have a much greater measure of freedom and when equality, if not always in actuality, at least theoretically, is perfectly acceptable, it can be quite difficult to see what all the fuss was about.

Edna Pontellier is married to Leonce, a wealthy stockbroker and has two sons whom she adores. But she is bored, with her comfortable existence; she has artistic leanings and sells her drawings and paintings successfully. Robert Lebrun, one of the sons of the lady whose house they occupy in the summer, accompanies her when batheing, and is generally at hand as a companion when her husband is away in the city. An idyllic picture of ease and luxury is the setting, but then Robert goes away to work in Mexico. The summer ends and Edna and Leonce take up their city existences in a beautiful mansion in New Orleans once again. Another man, Alceè Arobin, a wealthy but dissolute young man, pursues Edna, and it is very delicately suggested, he is successful in his attentions. But Edna's secret thoughts are all about Robert and when he returns to New Orleans things come to a head. Ultimately, Edna makes a sacrifice of herself, since she cannot have the love of Robert.

This book is a very easy read, there being no polemic or feminist philosophy beyond that suggested by events. It cannot, of course, in the time of East Enders - not to mention the soft porn industry - have the impact it had at its first publication, but it is also quite easy to see how it offended the great and the good. Imagine! A woman wants more than husband and children! Outrageous!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This reminded me very much of Madame Bovery as they are both women who are trapped in their marriage by the constraints of their social world and time period.

While Bovary deals with her situation by delving into her own fantasy world, the protagonist in The Awakening, Edna Pontellier also tries to carve her own life away from her roles as a wife and mother. The catalyst for Edna is her own 'Awakening' when she suddenly cannot bear to keep her own passions (either for music, art or sexual) within any longer.

While I can see how ground-breaking the novel must have been and I can sympathise with Edna, I did not enjoy the actual reading experience of The Awakening. I found the prose while quite dreamlike and full of imagery also quite dull and for such a short book I struggled to read to the end.

I didn't struggle to connect with Edna, I could see how she wanted to be something other than a wife and mother in that time period. I could see the point I just didn't enjoy the writing style.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The reader comments on this book illustrate a truth. Great literature rarely inspires a tepid response. This carefully drawn portrait of a young wife's awakening deserves comparison with Madame Bovary, but that, as well, was a sensational text, condemned by the readers of the day as inflammatory, condemned by modern readers as dull. The Awakening is an inspired and inspiring work. This book is full of symbolism and passion, and though the story is an eventually bleak one, it resonates with truth. This is a book about the pain of coming to life, and the power of inescapable maternal entanglement. Read it if you have an ear for beautiful language, a wise soul, and an active brain. If you prefer your truths to be merely pleasant, your endings to be tdily happy, and your grey matter to remain inert, leave The Awakening on the shelf.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Despite being written in 1899, this short novel has several interesting characters and covers the unusual (for that time) concept of suicide and marital dissatisfaction. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Haybanks
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing happens in this book
Only read half the book then jumped to the end. It's a short book but not at all gripping. Found it a very slow read as nothing much happens. Just dull. Wouldn't recommend.
Published 1 month ago by Sq
4.0 out of 5 stars Arrived in time, thank you
It was a present and I'm happy it made it in time.
Sounds like a really good book, my friend liked it.
Published 5 months ago by Martina Friedrich
4.0 out of 5 stars Thank heavens for Per Seyersted
I am reading The Women's Press edition, reprinted in 1987, which looks just like the 19th century novel that it is, not at all welcoming and with a front cover illustration that is... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dr R
3.0 out of 5 stars The histoy of a dissatisfied woman.
I didn't like the coldness of the protagonist towards her children. I think that this woman was selfish and superficial. I expected more fom this book.
Published 11 months ago by JUSTINE
4.0 out of 5 stars odd
Such a very atmospheric book but it has dated. I enjoyed the settings and descriptions but thought the ending unrealistic
and found the heroine rather tedious by the time the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A feminist text
This novel is interesting as the protagonist does not fit the conventions of the expectation of a woman as well as being placed in the wrong era. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Pepper
3.0 out of 5 stars bluegirl
I struggled a bit to feel sympathy for the protagonist in this novel. A beautifull house in New Orleans, regular, long summer holidays,friends,no money worries, a nanny for the... Read more
Published 14 months ago by bluegirl
1.0 out of 5 stars Just Say NO!
I hate this book. I really hate this book. I only read it because I was forced too in 6th Form. It is too god awful for words. Read more
Published 15 months ago by George Kinsky
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful
A beautiful and poignant book, with resonance even today (as it movingly featured in the post-Catriona New Orleans series "Treme"). Read more
Published 17 months ago by Veronica
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