[Read Audible] The AwakeningAuthor Kate Chopin – Gsagency.co

Often I have witnessed women, who proceed to talk about misogyny, sexism, or state their views on a piece of feminist literature, starting their discourse with something along the lines ofI m not much of a feministbutAs if it is best to put a considerable distance between themselves and this feared word at the onset and deny any possible links whatsoever As if calling herself a feminist automatically degrades a woman to the position of a venom spewing, uncouth, unfeminine, violent creature from hell whose predilections include despising all males on the planet with a passion and shouting from the rooftops about women s rights at the first opportunity Attention ladies and gentlemen Feminism is not so cool any, at least not in the way it was in the 80s or 90s.Don t ask what set off that particular rant but yes I suppose the numerous 1 star reviews of this one could have been a likely trigger So Edna s story gets a 1 star because she is a selfish bitch who falls in love with another man who is not her husband, doesn t sacrifice her life for her children and feels the stirrings of sexual attraction for someone she doesn t love in a romantic way Edna gets a 1 star because she dares to put herself as an individual first before her gender specific roles as wife and mother But so many other New Adult and erotica novels IF one can be generous enough to call themnovelsfor lack of a suitable alternative term virtually brimming with sexism, misogyny and chock full of all the obnoxious stereotypes that reinforce society s stunted, retrogressive view of the relationship dynamics between a man and woman, get 5 glorious stars from innumerable reviewers majority of whom are women on this site.This makes me lose my faith in humanity and women in particular Edna Pontellier acknowledges her awakening and her urge to break away from compulsions imposed on her by society She embraces her deviance and tries to come to terms with this new knowledge of her own self She desires to go through the entire gamut of human actions and emotions, regardless of how morally ambiguous, unjustified or self centered each one of them maybe And isn t THAT the whole point of this feminism businessFeminism is the radical notion that women are people Rebecca West A woman needs to be recognized and accepted as a human being first imperfect, flawed, egocentric, and possibly even as a bad mother and an irresponsible wife, just like the way society accepts a bad husband as a bad husband, a bad father as a bad father and moves on after uttering a few words of negative criticism Somehow being a bad father is reasonably acceptable, but being a bad mother constitutes a sacrilegious act.Edna s husband is equally responsible for abandoning their children as she is He limits his role as a father to performing minor tasks like buying them bonbons, peanuts and gifts and lecturing his wife on how they should be raised without bothering to shoulder some of her burden As if the task of raising children requires the sole expertise of the mother and the father can nonchalantly evade all responsibility while maintaining a lingering presence in their lives.I have seen readers being empathetic to unfaithful fictional husbands and their existential dilemmas case in point being Tomas and Franz inThe Unbearable Lightness of Beingwhich I am currently reading and even trying to rationalize their incapability of staying in monogamous relationships But oh heaven forbid if it s a woman in the place of a man Women are denied entrance into the world of infidelity or casual sex and in the rare case that they are allowed, they are given labels like slut , whore , tart and so on They need to be absolute models of perfection without fail angelic, compassionate, thoughtful, always subservient, forever ready to be at your service as a good mother and a good wife and languish in a perpetual state of self denial with that forced sweet smile stuck on their faces Double standards much Edna is a little flawed and, hence, very humane Edna is in all of us And her cold refusal to let societal norms decide the course of her life, reduce her to the state of mere mother and wife only makes her brave in my eyes view spoiler Her suicide is but a loudfuck youto the patriarchal system And I can only salute her for her act of defiance hide spoiler I d like to give this book ZERO stars, but it s not an option This is hands down the worst book that I ve ever read I will never say that again in a review, because this one wins that prize.BIG SPOILER AHEAD Be warned.I had to read this thing twice in college, and it is a horrible story We are supposed to feel sympathy for a selfish woman with no redeemable qualities Just because her marriage is bad it does not give her the right to be a lousy, despicable person Get a divorce Yes Find new love Yes Abandon your children, be completely self absorbed, commit adultery, and drown yourself No, no, no, and no This is my problem with the book Drowning oneself and leaving one s children without the guidance of their mother is a tragedy The book would have you believe it is a triumph This is the irredeemable flaw in the book.It is also physically impossible to die the way she did You cannot float to the bottom of the ocean Your body will force you to swim and fight It is a scientific fact that you cannot drown yourself without a struggle She would have struggled in the end Yes you can swim out so far that you can t make it back in and would drown in the process But no, you can t just sink to the bottom It would be a horrible, gagging, gasping, throwing up salt water, kicking your arms and legs fight.The writing itself is nothing special It s not bad Chopin is not a bad writer on a technical level, but she is no expert either.I hate to be the one raining on the parade, but this is the most overrated book I have ever come across. SPOILERS in the comments One of the earliest sleep with whoever you want feminist rhetoric books I think much of what feminists fought for and accomplished was vital for protecting women Women have never lived with such freedom I stand behind many of the advances This book, however, as part of the general 60 s feminist philosophy not the major thinking of the early feminists , I believe has had a destructive effect Instead of promoting a philosophy that men should be honest about the power of physical relationships which would have helped to correct many of the true problems and thus would have been truly progressive they encourged women to be just as selfish This type of thought has pulled us backwards Their courage faltered when they didn t set the standard that was really needed The havoc wreaked on the souls of human beings, both those involved in sexuality that professes one thing physically but another spiritually selfish sexuality and the children who live in the chaos of these relationships or non relationships is a step back in the progression of the individual who should be moving towards actual love and away from selfishness. In a hearing I observed once, the husband testified that he had tried to have his wife served with his petition for divorce in the Costco parking lot The wife went running across the parking lot to avoid service, and her eight and ten year old kids ran after her, dodging traffic and jumping into the wife s car as it screeched out of the parking spot The husband filmed them on his iPhone, shouting, You ve been served You ve been served The judge commented that it was troubling to watch a video of the kids running through a dangerous parking lot and asked the woman why she ran The woman replied, I don t believe in divorce, your honor The judge said, Well, ma am, it s not like the Easter Bunny it exists There is that point in a woman s life when she wakes up suspecting that the fairy tales she grew up with were not telling the whole story, that there is life beyond the sunset at the end of the movie and that life is not easier than life before the sunset And, there are any number of stories in which that anvil falls on a character s head Tolstoy writes the cautionary morality tale version in Anna Karenina, Flaubert writes the pastoral tragedy version in Madame Bovary, and Elizabeth Gilbert writes the self involved douche version in Eat Pray Love, to name a few But, then, The Awakening This one is my favorite This is the beautiful one.For example, there is thisDo you know Mademoiselle Reisz she asked irrelevantly The pianist I know her by sight I ve heard her play She says queer things sometimes in a bantering way that you don t notice at the time and you find yourself thinking about afterward For instance Well, for instance, when I left her to day, she put her arms around me and felt my shoulder blades, to see if my wings were strong, she said The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth All the women in this book are birds clucking hens, sheltering their brood decorative birds in cages and Edna growing wings and trying to fly away I love the image of women as birds because I think it is so vivid in showing a woman s disconnect with society Just the image of a bird in a cage is something out of place, confined where it should be free It is unwelcome and unnatural out of the cage, but unable to leave The movie Moulin Rouge uses the image, too Where Ewan McGreggor s character is the traditional Orpheus, whose gift is his song, Nicole Kidman s is the woman as a bird Oh, we will, she says to her own pet bird, We will fly, fly away from here I don t know where this metaphor originated sirens or how it became what it is in these stories, but I think it is poignant view spoiler And it is poignant that, clearly, the only end for a bird escaped from the cage is death A woman defying tradition and prejudice, as Mademoiselle Riesz says, is unwelcome and must have particularly strong wings to fly away But, all of these stories that imagine something beyond tradition have Thelma and Louise endings Women who wake up and realize that they are unwelcome in society as they are, who realize they can t pretend to be what society wants any, can only conceive of suicide as the alternative And, in The Awakening, at least, Edna s death is not cautionary or punishment It is just the only conceivable alternative in a society that offers nothing for women but marriage Interestingly, Eat Pray Love is the only story I can think of on this topic that doesn t end in the woman s death, so that is perversely hopeful hide spoiler Book Review4 of 5 stars to The Awakening by Kate Chopin I read this book several years ago and wrote a paper on how society treated women during that period in literature I cut and paste some from it below, as I think it offers than a normal review on this one Please keep in mind, I m referring to women in the 19th century, i.e the characters from the book not thoughts on women today As for the book it s fantastic love seeing what people thought 150 years ago, seeing some things never change and some people are just always wrong And for the record, I loved Edna thought she had a right to, and should have, pushed the envelope Question Edna Pontellier Does Innocence Prevail Society expects women to remain pure and chaste, to ignore the urge to engage in any type of behavior that could be construed as flirtatious, and to follow the demands of their fathers until marriage However, women see these limitations as too restrictive, which is why they live their lives in a way that suits them and not others Women often take control of their own lives by participating in flirtatious behaviors, ignoring parental wishes, and engaging in pre marital sex When women are married and still wish to live their own lives, they may have extra marital affairs, they may leave their husbands or lovers, and they may commit suicide These behaviors are ways of striking out against the unfair limitations placed on them Often the desire to be socially functional and acceptable can lead to hostility to those who appear to be unconventional or independent Allen 336 As a result of this hostility and striking out, whether or not women are truly innocent has pervaded the minds of American society.Since the innocence of women has always been a subject that captivates society s mind, writers will often take advantage of this and create works that are about women s innocence The realistic period of literature, from the end of the Civil War to World War I 1865 1915, contains many works that are representative of women and their level of innocence In works such as Kate Chopin s The Awakening 1899 , there are female characters whose innocence comes into question Edna Pontellier lives her life in such an ambiguously flirtatious way that the people from the society in which they live, all question the women s innocence and morality Edna is somewhat guilty, although she has an excuse Edna is just entering her womanhood for the first time at a time when views were quite different than today She may lose her innocence with several men, but she never knew what innocence was prior to her sexual awakening Regardless of Edna s actions, she is still innocent even though her flirtatious behavior implies that she isn t After she faces society s wrath, she turns inwardly to find support instead of turning to the people around her After thinking about her future, Edna meanders down the path of self destruction and commits suicide, as a way to get out of the misery that she is in When her innocence appears to be lost, she chooses to take her own life, rather than fight to show society that she has done nothing wrong However, she never really loses her innocence permanently, as it was only hidden under her awakening to womanhood.In The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier, a young, married woman is also removed from her usual American home to that of the French Creole society in New Orleans, Louisiana Even though the story still takes place in America, the French Creole society is European than American It expects the people that live there to follow European beliefs about women, innocence, and sexuality Edna has been married to Leonce Pontellier for several years and they have two sons also They spend their summer vacations on an island off the coast of Louisiana during the summers, not that far from the mainland where they usually live Edna grew up with a father who expected her to follow his rules as perfectly as possible He was a hypocritical, gambling, toddy drinking, pious talking Presbyterian from Kentucky Skaggs 98 His interpretation of religion was to be irreconcilable during the week, and then atone for it on Sundays at worship Edna thus became two separate souls within her own body She wanted to be pious and good which explains why she remained married to Leonce in a loveless marriage for nearly ten years However, she also had a passionate, wild side to her which suddenly erupted after she met Robert Lebrun on the Grand Isle According to James H Justus, the imbalance which haunts Edna is within the self, and the dilemma is resolved in terms of her psychic compulsions Caught between conflicting urgencies her need to succumb to her sensuality is countered by an equal need for a freedom that is almost anarchic Justus 73.Edna Pontellier is bored with her husband, her life of motherhood and housekeeping upon her return to the mainland She also wants to be free to do whatever she chooses instead of being chained to her husband She enjoys the attention that she gets from Robert and finds the young man quite attractive Once started, Edna makes no attempt to suppress her sexual desire, she does not hesitate to throw off her traditional duties towards her family She realizes she is unable to live as the inessential adjunct to man, as the object over which man rules Seyersted 62 As a result, Edna Pontellier has her first affair out of sexual hunger, without romantic furbelow She is in love, but the young man she loves has left New Orleans Kauffmann, 59 Edna Pontellier is an adulterer, but one can forgive her because she was thrown into a marriage that she was not ready for after living by her father s rule for so many years Edna never had a chance to grow up as a woman As a result, she is forced to suppress her sexuality, and it comes out full force during her summer vacation with the Lebruns.Nevertheless, Edna and Robert s affair has a positive influence on Edna s life Carley Rees Bogarad believes that Edna s desire for the first time in her life is directed at someone who returns it and who has been fulfilling her emotional needs She finally has evidence from the way Robert has been treating her and from her own emerging sense of self that she might choose to live in a meaningful, constructive and active way She does not lose her sense of responsibility she redefines it 160 However, Edna loses Robert when he leaves the country, and she is forced to return home with her husband and two children where her life becomes monotonous and dull without Robert Later, She meets Alcee Arobin, who reminds her of Robert in some ways Edna and Arobin also begin an affair with each other This time, Edna enjoys the company because Arobin is a charming man, attentive, amusing, a person of the world He is a sexual partner who does not ask for, expect, or give love Consequently, Edna need not feel that she is compromising him because she loves another What she slowly discovers is that there is no way to separate what the body does from what the mind or heart is feeling without creating a violation of self Bogarad 160 Edna definitely seems as though she has no morals by this time She couldn t care any less about her family all Edna wants to do is explore her new found sexual awakening She is viewed negatively for this among society Yet, in reality, the men in her life split her Robert sees her as the angel, and Alcee sees her as the whore Bogarad 160.Edna Pontellier is a victim of fate, and cannot be faulted for that She can t help but be awakened sexually, which leads to her numerous affairs with Robert and Alcee After moving out of the house and living on her own, in the way that she wants to, Edna slowly dwindles down to nothing She loses her husband, Robert, and Alcee Robert briefly returns and it seems as though he and Edna will reunite, but they don t Instead, Edna s awakened feelings and lifeline diminish her Spangler remarks that in the final pages, Edna is different she is no longer purposeful, merely willful no longer liberated, merely perverse no longer justified, merely spiteful Spangler 155 In the end, Edna is left barren and desolate She wanders out to the sea, strips off her clothes, and jumps in to her death According to Spangler, Chopin surrounds Edna s death with contradictory symbols of defeat and rebirth This makes it difficult to assess the meaning of Edna s final act and accounts for the various readings proposed There is also the further complication that it is not clear whether Edna s death is consciously chosen suicide or whether it, like much else in Edna s life, is simply drifted into 156 Edna s tragic end leaves readers wondering what her purpose was Edna could represent women who are perversely attracted to forbidden fruit and for women that want to possess which forms only destructive relationships rather than those that are true and lasting Roscher 292 All that the readers can infer is that her actions and final suicide suggest that she is a woman whose will and determination force her to go her own way but a closer look at Edna shows that she is not a character who rejects a society in thought and act Portales 431 Edna Pontellier may have had some affairs, but she still remains innocent in some ways She never knew what love was when she married Leonce She had been influenced by her father and assumed that she would fall in love with Leonce once they got married Nevertheless, Edna tries unsuccessfully, so she then determines to just have a good time, but she falls for Robert and enters into a relationship with him perhaps the first one when their is requited love between the two Edna cannot be blamed for losing her innocence therefore, since she didn t have it when she was married She didn t even know what it was to not have innocence at that time Edna suffered at the hand so fate and her father She rarely had control of her own lifeAbout MeFor those new to me or my reviews here s the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you ll also find TV Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I ve visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who what when where and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by Note All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them Many thanks to their original creators. This review is being posted mainly because of the awesome backstory I actually had to read this twice in high school and didn t care for it much either time.But, here comes my great story When I was a sopho in high school I went out with this girl who eventually dumped me and gave the reason that she was only going out with me until the guy she really liked showed interest in her A real downer Fast forward to senior year.I was in theater and I just so happened to do shows at the all girls school where the aforementioned girl went After a performance I was Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie , she came up to me and said that she needed to talk to me and that she was interested in me attending prom with her WHAT I hadn t talked to her in a couple of years my mind was blown I said yes, but I was skeptical.While at prom she sat me down for the talk She said that she felt terrible for what she did to me She said that while reading The Awakening, she started to realize that I was really good to her and being the place holder for this other guy was not fair to me VINDICATED She wrote an essay about what she had done to me and how the book had opened her eyes an awakening, perhaps This essay ended up winning some sort of state wide competition Feeling pretty great by this point EpilogueShe came up to me at the end of the prom and asked me if she could leave with another guy who she has been kind of interested in for awhile you can t make this stuff up So, I got my vindication, but history repeated itself at least I wasn t officially dating her this time I guess I can understand why The Awakening is considered so important in the development of the feminist canon At the same time, I can understand why it was rejected so adamantly in its own time Chopin is an okay writer Her work, however, seethes ignorance Her work was ignored in its time because it really was not worth the recognition Anyway, that s my humble, and not so intellectual, opinion The protagonist, 29, seems to awaken into an adolescence of sorts in this book In the guise of discovering her sexuality and moving towards some kind of self actualization, she does little than become the town trollop while engaging in pseudo intellectual banter and hysterics Yes, I said hysterics She addresses such issues as being a prisoner of marriage, society, social graces, and motherhood At the same time, she never makes the mental baby steps towards a lifestyle that would give her the power of her own agency She is spoiled, coddled, and does not have the courage to be a self sufficient person When she decides to rebel, she does it by cheating on her husband, abandoning her children and responsibilities All the time she is surrounded by servants, extravagance, and people feeding her distorted sense of entitlement Ultimately she is humiliated when someone with a better sense of reality rejects her advances She is left to build this new life for herself alone Truly alone This tremendous blow leads her to suicide She could not handle standing on her own two feet You can t tell me that Chopin s work is so juvenile and lacking because she was the first She wasn t Not in Creole Louisiana Look at Aphra Behn, Mary Wollstonecraft, even Mary Shelley That was literature Those were the building blocks of feminist writing Chopin is spoiled, confused, and completely unaware of how the world around her really works. When First Published In , The Awakening Shocked Readers With Its Honest Treatment Of Female Marital Infidelity Audiences Accustomed To The Pieties Of Late Victorian Romantic Fiction Were Taken Aback By Chopin S Daring Portrayal Of A Woman Trapped In A Stifling Marriage, Who Seeks And Finds Passionate Physical Love Outside The Confines Of Her Domestic SituationAside From Its Unusually Frank Treatment Of A Then Controversial Subject, The Novel Is Widely Admired Today For Its Literary Qualities Edmund Wilson Characterized It As A Work Quite Uninhibited And Beautifully Written, Which Anticipates D H Lawrence In Its Treatment Of Infidelity Although The Theme Of Marital Infidelity No Longer Shocks, Few Novels Have Plumbed The Psychology Of A Woman Involved In An Illicit Relationship With The Perception, Artistry, And Honesty That Kate Chopin Brought To The Awakening WOW probably the most beautifully written book i ve ever read, plus so much feminism it makes me weak I adore this book and I am going to be buying my own copy soon so that i can reread and reread and reread it until I die. If a woman decides out of whim to shun the familial responsibilities of motherhood and wife and become a servant to her passing senses she should be rebuked If a man does it he should be rebuked all the same Any person regardless of gender, age, or social standing who demonstrate such irresponsibility deserves their chastisement I have read a lot of varying responses to this novel and a good deal of them criticizes this book for the selfish irresponsibility of its flawed heroine And make no mistake I would be the last person to approve of her actions However the gravity that this book carries lies not in the heroine s flawed actions but in her ability to be flawed Written during the backward 19th century society that not only asks but creeds that women should be the perfect embodiment of macho yearning subservient, immaculate, modest, sensitive and to be otherwise was to be unwomanly Kate Chopin presented the then remote possibility that perhaps a woman defines herself rather than is defined by the conventions and social edicts around her.Our heroine, Edna Pontellier, cannot shake this feeling of unease There lies upon her this great premonition that there exists someone inside her that is neither a wife nor a motherShe thought of Leonce and the children They were part of her life But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soulAnd so, driven by affection for another man, she walks slowly along the tragic path of her defiance against her husband and the cruel society that she is part of Bolder with each step she takes, she slowly comprehends that her war against the world is not just about which man she chooses to love but about her sense of identity as a woman There lies the devil Edna was condemned for there was no victory at hand for her no matter how she struggled Society did not permit her, a woman, to freely become the person she sought to become a creature of her own volition Yet in the face of certain defeat she displayed courage and will power till she had none to give, defeated by her timeThe bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth Whither would you soar The 21st century is as unforgiving and treacherous for a woman as centuries past Patriarchy and misogyny, for all the battles won, have found new ways to contain the gifts of womanhood and shackle her thoughts But the wind of progress is blowing stronger than it has ever had Mothers are not just mothers, and wives are much than wives There is a clamoring for you to be brave, to lead, to be different, to be flawed Will you soar