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The Awakening by [Chopin, Kate]
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The Awakening Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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"The novel expresses women's diffuse desire for personal and social change" (Guardian)

"Chopin's slight, brittle and fierce novel became a classic and a cult, shocking readers with its candid and unsentimental portrait of marital infidelity. Though the subject has lost its power to outrage, the novel has not, it remains delicately bitter and acidly angry" (Observer)

"The Awakening is indeed a remarkable achievement, not least because of its rhapsodic ending" (Independent)

"Chopin cuts closer to the core of her heroine's feelings... The great power of The Awakening resides not in the answers it provides, but in the questions it exposes" (Washington Post)

"It doesn't seem so daring now, but it's an inspiring model of personal crusading. Written in lyrical, restrained prose, this is not only a historical document of writer ahead of her time, but an enduringly good read." (Scotsman)

Book Description

Kate Chopin's daring portrait of a woman seeking for a life beyond her role as devoted wife and mother

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 477 KB
  • Print Length: 154 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1936136163
  • Publisher: HarperPerennial Classics (1 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #51,738 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was recommended this book a few years ago by a friend who comes from the U.S. - it seems relatively unknown over here for some reason, when it's a major American classic of women's literature and deserves to be much better known. It's about a woman in the Deep South who goes on holiday with her family in the late 19th century and ends up falling for one of the other holiday-makers. Even though their relationship doesn't develop into anything too serious, and he doesn't seem that fussed about being with her, it helps her come to realise that her life as a wife and mother is not all it's cracked up to be. When she returns to St. Louis after the holiday, she feels that she has changed somehow, and starts to question who she is and what she wants from life. It's as if she's sacrificed a part of herself to conform with society and to be what people expect her to be, and feels the need to shrug everything off. I imagine this book would have been a bit controversial when it first came out! It's mind-boggling that even today some of her thoughts still feel very relevant - it's the 21st century and we are still asking the same questions of ourselves, and women still feel a kind of social guilt if they do not aspire to be mothers or dedicated wives.

It's quite a quick read for all of its big ideas, and really captures the unique way that summer can bring about a time of change or growth in a character. I love this book, and find it surprising that more people haven't read it, or even heard of it. And I love this new cover! So nice to have something beautiful when all that's been available before really has been academic editions. I'm so happy to see that it's getting the love that it deserves. Looking forward to re-reading again very soon!
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Format: Paperback
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, is a powerful work of literary fiction that was condemned in its time for suggesting that a women may want more from her life than a husband, children and a comfortable home. Published in the USA in 1899 it tells the tale of Edna, a wife and mother who awakens to desires that polite society refused to acknowledge in its female members. From a life spent acquiescing to the wishes and expectations of family and acquaintances, Edna starts to consider her own thoughts and feelings and, most shockingly, to act in a manner of her choosing.

There is so much in this book that reads as depressingly timeless. Her husband is materially kind and generous to his family, but cannot comprehend how this may not be enough for his wife. The men they mix with talk incessantly of themselves with little regard for the women so long as they are supportive and act as required and expected. The women gossip and flirt but rarely converse, even amongst themselves, with candour.

Upon observing with some chagrin the changes in his wife, Edna’s husband’s first reaction is to ponder her state of mind:

‘It sometimes entered Mr Pontellier’s mind to wonder if his wife were not growing a little unbalanced mentally.’

Concerned by the unexpected instability in his comfortable and ordered life, he consults with a doctor who asks:

‘has she been associating of late with a circle of pseudo-intellectual women?’

The insertion of pseudo rang so familiar. Over one hundred years later, too many men still struggle to regard women as mentally and intellectually their equals.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kate Chopin's short, beautifully written novel describes the evolution of a respectable New Orleans matron in the last year of the 19th century. Wife of a successful New Orleans businessman and mother of two, Edna Pontellier is first revealed to us as a wife with vague, unexpressed feelings of being discontent, undervalued and disillusioned with her apparently solid marriage and conventional upper middle class life. Spending the summer on an island resort, she meets and falls in love with Robert, and discovers unexplored depths of infatuation and erotic longing. Although unconsummated, the 'affair' haunts Edna upon her return to normal life at the end of the summer and she starts to rebel against the normal expectations placed upon her. When her husband's trip to New York on business leaves her alone with time and freedom to contemplate her life, she begins a process of reinvention that inspires her to re-visit an earlier love of art, to move out of the family home and even engage in a casual sexual relationship with a local Lothario. In the midst of this fast-paced unraveling of her former life, the unexpected return of Robert is the catalyst for the novel's tragic conclusion. With great sensitivity and breathtaking prose, Chopin addresses women's issues that were almost certainly never raised at the end of the 19th century. As many have already said, the book was 'ahead of its time' and foreshadowed the feminist movement which really did not take wings until the early 1970s.
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Format: Paperback
This short but powerful novel deserves to be so much better known here in the UK, and I'm delighted to see it out in such a beautiful new edition. The introduction by Kingsolver really sets it up for those who've not read it before, too. Wonderful all round.
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