The Awakening


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Context and analysis

One workout also results in optimum happiness and a feeling of rejuvenation and camaraderie. Why not try out a class with your family, friends or relatives? Don't really fancy working out in the gym? So why is it different to any other workout class? At that early period it served but to bewilder her. It moved her to dreams, to thoughtfulness, to the shadowy anguish which had overcome her the midnight when she had abandoned herself to tears.

In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her. This may seem like a ponderous weight of wisdom to descend upon the soul of a young woman of twenty-eight- perhaps more wisdom than the Holy Ghost is usually vouchsafed to any woman.

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But the beginning of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing. How few of us ever emerge from such a beginning! How many souls perish in its tumult! View all 30 comments.

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Even though the entire plot of this novel can be summed up as, "woman sits around and does nothing while having feminine thoughts", there is a resounding beauty in its monotony. The Awakening is a quick and affecting novel especially with that ending.

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While I do think that it may be slightly subject to over-hype, there is no contesting its importance as an early feminist work. And on that account, I would recommend it. View 1 comment. Nov 13, Houston rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: everyone. He could see plainly that she was not herself.

That is, he could not see that she was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.

The Awakening: review

My wife has been telling me about them. Put your foot down good and hard; the only way to manage a wife. The book is her journey, inward and then outward as well, to finding who she is and how she wants to be. The Doctor even accuses the husband of being too lenient. At this time, and even now, women struggle to gain independence from the role of wife and mother. Trying to figure out where the self is within the confines of those roles, and how to manage the three successfully is still difficult. This resolve is what leads her to her final decision, becoming absolutely her own person to the exclusion of any other role.

The end is somewhat disturbing, though poetic. The struggle between Edna and her environment, her time and those around her—her inner struggles—all seem to lead her to that final point of no return. Jan 22, Lynne King rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-to-be-read , definitely-to-read. Part of the book is also based on their vacation in Grand Isle on the Gulf of Mexico.

The scene is soon set as Edna is beginning to feel unsettled after six years of a rather bland marriage to an older man and feels that there is something lacking in her life. An incident then occurs that soon sets her on a course that cannot be changed. The reason being, it was published in , a period when a woman was meant to believe and to maintain that her place was purely in the home, having children and taking care of her husband. As was the case with Edna but one day she went unexpectedly completely against the establishment when to her own amazement friendship, love and desire plunged into the arena.

Her whole personality changed but I believe this really came about when she learned to swim for she discovered a strength within herself that she had never known existed. I also began to sense the similarities of behavior with Emma Bovary. Set for the majority of the time by the sea, water will turn out to be the catalyst in this remarkable work.

Edna discovered water and then she…. View all 19 comments. Satisfaction of Repressing Demands of a Southern Society Patterned on Culture of Victorian England Sensate, if you will, Grand Isle, Louisiana, USA, Salty, muggy air creeping off a windless and glittering gulf, white wooden chairs posing in the antique, misty elegance of a large veranda, blinds half-drawn at sundown to corrugated silhouettes, and a laced corset honeycombed by dimming sunlight.

She is completely unprepared for the constraining societal demands upon first going to the Pontellier summer house on Grand Isle in south Louisiana. Nor was she ready to deal with Southern belles who sashay from house to summer house stifling the stuffy air as they swelter over sweaty glasses of iced tea. As Pat Conroy wrote, "the sweetness of Southern women often conceals the deadliness of snakes. Donna Tartt probably best explains the pain of being raised and living among this coquettish set, in writing that, "many Southern ladies are fierce, dignified ex-belles who changed their ways before they went crazy or killed somebody.

In the end, she cannot handle the societal demands of New Orleans and goes for a long swim. In some ways, it reminds me of Madame Bovary published 43 years earlier Besides the geographic differences, Edna was more driven to seek independence by her circumstances and society, to rebel against sexual repression in a place that was more chauvinistic and puritanical than France half a century earlier; whereas Bovary dreamed of romance and free love like that in the books she read.

The writing was commendable and tantalizing. Certainly, it was forward-thinking from the female point of view in the U. From what I've read, this short novel shocked American readers in with its uninhibited look at infidelity and female sexuality, and did not sell well until re-discovered in the s by feminists in academia who saw and still see it as significant and liberating. Set in New Orleans and on the Louisiana Gulf coast at the end of the 19th century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle between her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South.

It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension.

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It prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton, and Henry James. Shelves: classic , unsympathetic-main-characters , women-s-issues , required-reading. For starters, I did not enjoy this story, and I did not see why Edna's life was utterly miserable.

I didn't care about her, really. And her plight didn't speak to me at all. Everything is subjective, however, Edna has many more options and choices than some women ever have. More than anything she has safety and the ability to protect herself and her children. That in itself is more than many women have, even today. I can understand feeling restricted, but I think Edna was a very selfish woman. I For starters, I did not enjoy this story, and I did not see why Edna's life was utterly miserable.

If anything, she should have thought of her children. I am not here to say that women don't have existences outside of their marriages, their children. I disagree strongly with that. But a woman has a choice to make.


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When she brings children into the world, it changes the decisions that she can make. She can be happy and she can have joy, but she has to make sure that her children are loved and cared for. Edna was a pampered woman with an indulgent husband, and she had the means to go on a nice vacation every year. She had servants, and friends.

The Awakening

A lot of women don't even have those things, but manage to get up out of bed everyday and live their lives. Yes, she felt that she was denying her inner self, and had to marry, although maybe she didn't want to. There is: Okay this is what I have, let's see what I can do with it. Make the best of what you have.

Edna continually made bad choices. She made a mistake and had an extramarital affair.

Not the end of the world. I believe her husband would have forgiven her. Or she could have even lived apart from him and hopefully still be a mother to her children. Maybe I'm being naive about this for the time period, maybe not.


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