Reviews

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

shontayromey's review against another edition

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was reading for an assignment due at midnight… ended up using spark notes for the rest lol

maggiemon's review against another edition

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medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

localberrie's review against another edition

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5.0

Ugh.

lacyk_reads's review against another edition

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3.0

I was surprised at how caught up I became in this story. I felt for Edna.

clairewilsonleeds's review against another edition

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challenging emotional inspiring medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

kevin_shepherd's review against another edition

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3.0

Scandalous for 1899, The Awakening is a study in 19th century, white, upper class, creole femininity. In an era when divorce was extremely rare and respectable married women “knew their place,” Chopin’s open depiction of an unfaithful wife exploring her sexuality got her effectively blacklisted. She never wrote another novel and, hereafter, had trouble getting her short stories published.

I really wanted to like this more than I did. It took Chopin roughly twenty chapters to set the stage for Edna’s “awakening.” By the time things really started to take shape I was almost ready to throw in the towel.

Look, I get it. This novel is undoubtedly groundbreaking and historically significant, but I found the characters unlikable, the premise overwrought and the perspective off-puttingly upper crust and beau monde.

sportula's review against another edition

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dark emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

magazinegumwrap39's review against another edition

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emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

ctz's review against another edition

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slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

This is a really strange book, but does a good job of exploring the disconnect between being a mother and being a woman when you’re only expected to choose one. 

teniamonet's review against another edition

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challenging emotional reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.5

I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it (this could also be because of the audio narrator). The book wasn't something that I had to force myself through, but it wasn't exciting enough that I was in a rush to finish it even though the audiobook length was only 5 hours and 10 minutes.

The book explores topics of a woman's role in 19th-century society as a wife and mother, and femininity- a topic that I find women today are still contemplating. Other themes are isolation, identity, marriage, and depression. 

There were days when she was unhappy; she did not know why—when it did not seem worth while to be glad or sorry, to be alive or dead; …

For Edna isolation and identity go hand in hand, she is ultimately alone in her awakening. 

The note that Robert leaves for Edna was probably the only thing in the story that tugged at my heart. 

“I love you. Good-by—because I love you.”

But that night she was like the little tottering, stumbling, clutching child, who of a sudden realizes its powers, and walks for the first time alone, boldly and without over-confidence.

After a summer in Grand Isle Edna Pontellier goes back home to New Orleans to find a new side of her has been awakened (a call to the title). In her own way, Edna rejects society's expectations for her and searches for what lies for her outside of her role as a wife and mother. 

In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman. The mother-women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle. It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended, protecting wings when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood. They were women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels.

Edna often forgets about her children and loves being alone. While her husband and the other women find it odd how detached from her children she can be I have a level of sympathy because it is so clear that this is a woman who never truly felt a call to be a mother, but knew that was her role and what was expected of her. While Edna does have love for her children she doesn't have that motherly feel that the other mothers have. Edna doesn't feel like she should make her children her entire world or personality. 

Even in today's society, I feel like a woman can have a million accomplishments, hobbies, etc. that highlight her but once she becomes a wife or a mother it's like a big portion of who she was before goes to the back burner. I know our last names belong to our fathers, but as someone with a strong connection to her father and family, I can't help but get sad at the fact that through marriage our name changes once again enforcing how parts of our old selves go to the back.

The connection that Edna has to nature and the ocean feels familiar to me. There are many viewpoints that you can think from while reading this text. Edna's journey to becoming as independent as a woman possibly could be in this time was complex and I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the ending of this one.
To choose to die alone rather than give up her new self is certainly a choice, but I suppose it was one she got to make which emphasizes her independence.
This was such a short book, but I feel like there is so much more I could write about.