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The Awakening and Selected Stories

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,765 Ratings  ·  554 Reviews
A daring novel of a woman's sexual and spiritual rebirth

When it was published in 1899, charges of sordidness and immorality consigned this classic into initial obscurity and irreparably damaged its author's literary and social reputation.

Through careful, subtle changes of style, Chopin shows the transformation of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother who--with tragic co
Paperback, 286 pages
Published April 1st 1986 by Penguin Classics (first published 1899)
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Dec 02, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for tragic love and a gloomy ending. For social and moral constraints pushing down until one suffocates. I’ve lived it. I caught my breath and clutched this book and had a completely personal reaction to the beauty and the agony.

Some of the one star reviews puzzle me, not because people disliked the book, which would be perfectly reasonable, but because some people suggest Edna could’ve just gotten a divorce and solved her problem that way. That she was a selfish “
Jun 18, 2009 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Awakening ~ A Review in Two Parts ~

Me, 20 years old, circa early ‘90s

Okay, so I just read The Awakening. What a novella before its time! You’ve got Edna Pontellier, manipulated into a stodgy marriage, her husband expecting her to conform to society’s rules and trappings. She now has 2 children and is feeling the pull of wanting to be her own person. An artist, a free thinker, not meant to stay at home and accept visitors. On a summer vacation in Grand Isle, she meets Robert Lebrun, a you
Christy B
I loved this story for the beautiful writing and the intricate way of exploring the life of a tragic woman. I saw this as a tragic story, not as the example that feminists having been using it as for decades.

The feminist themes are there, no doubt, but I don't think that Chopin intended it to be used as an example of what a woman in a similar situation should do.

The Awakening is a story of a woman who feels bound and oppressed by her marriage and by motherhood. This stuff was never for her and s
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I did not enjoy this story, and I did not see why Edna's life was so bad. I can understand feeling restricted, but I think Edna was a very selfish woman. 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. 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 s ...more
Apr 17, 2010 Dusty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
Recommended to Dusty by: Carly Sweder, John González
Most reviews of The Awakening begin with a qualification -- "For a woman of her time, Kate Chopin..." -- but not this one. I loved it from start to finish, loved it up, down, and sideways, loved it in a house, with a mouse, etc. It's an angsty American masterpiece -- a Catcher in the Rye for late 19th Century women, if you will, though not only women should/do identify with Edna Pontellier's internal/external struggle against the social "norms" that strap her without her consent into the "mother ...more
Sep 30, 2015 Edward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Introduction: The Second Coming of Aphrodite, by Sandra M. Gilbert
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Text

--The Awakening

--Emancipation: A Life Fable
--At the 'Cadian Ball
--Désirée's Baby
--La Belle Zoraïde
--At Chênière Caminada
--The Story of an Hour
--A Pair of Silk Stockings
--Nég Créol
--Elizabeth Stock's One Story
--The Storm: A Sequel to "The 'Cadian Ball"
Apr 27, 2015 kaelan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With several hours to kill before an appointment, I decided to pop inside a bookstore to pick up something "short but old." In pursuit of this end, I solicited the aid of the shop lady—one of those former English majors who've evidently forgotten everything they might have once learned in university. Following several false starts ("Sorry, ma'am, but I've already read both Animal Farm and The Metamorphosis"), she pulled a slender book from the shelf, saying as she did so: "I can't remember if I ...more
Aug 03, 2016 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I enjoyed reading this, but I wasn't enthusiastic about reading it. I think this will benefit from rereading. The characters and endings aren't the most developed, but the atmosphere of Louisiana is lush and realistic. I can see why this is an acclaimed work, but I wasn't blown away by it.
Genia Lukin
Jan 15, 2013 Genia Lukin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, other, my-ebooks
I have to put this out there straight off; objectively this is a quite good book, a classic, and I have seen many other people like it.

I cannot tell anyone not to read it, and, in fact, the writing style (though very much of its time) is clear and easy and well-crafted. Chopin knows her job as a writer, and does it decently, though perhaps, in my opinion only, she is not as fabulous as others make her out to be.

On the other hand, my personal prejudice plays a great part in the rating of this boo
I enjoyed this book. I read it in 3 days, over a weekend, and while I rushed the ending, I was engaged by it. What I found so important about this book is that it was written in a style where I felt I understood the main character's inner process. I enjoyed the limited dialogue with an emphasis on description, even during conversations. However, I felt that there was only one main character, Edna, and all the other characters reflected her setting. The ending (which I will not spoil) was particu ...more
Jun 10, 2015 Hanneke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ik vond het een prachtig boekje en Edna een ontroerende vrouw. De sfeertekeningen zijn erg mooi. Het warme strand, de zon, de strandhuisjes, de zee, het vrolijke gezelschap op het eiland, de muziekavondjes. Het leven is mooi. Er is geen sprake van de naargeestigheid en donkere atmosfeer zoals die naar voren komt in Madame Bovary. Ik vind het daarom onterecht dat dit boek met Madame Bovary wordt vergeleken. Edna wil oprecht haar eigen vrijheid en ze wil met rust gelaten worden. Zij heeft daar gee ...more
The altar, 'tis of death! for there are laid
The sacrifice of all youth's sweetest hopes.
It is a dreadful thing for woman's lip
To swear the heart away; yet know that heart
Annuls the vow while speaking and shrinks back
From the dark future that it dares not face.
The service read above the open grave
Is far less terrible than that which seals
The vow that binds the victim, not the will:
For in the grave is rest.

The Marriage Vow, Letitia Elizabeth Landon

(view spoiler)
Review of The Awakening here.

The short stories are also great, especially At the 'Cadian Ball, A Gentleman of Bayou Têche and Elizabeth Stock’s One Story, showing a diverse and vital talent for storytelling.

The introduction, however, is dismal. First of all, it promptly spoils the novel and almost all of the stories, without any warning whatsoever. Secondly, it's rambling and lacks focus or any discernible point, wandering from trying to excuse or erase Chopin's racist beliefs to pointlessly ask
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is a short novel, published in 1899. It caused such a scandal that it was banned for decades afterward. The furor over this book was so upsetting to Kate Chopin that she gave up writing altogether.

The story is about Mrs. Edna Pontellier, a Kentucky girl married to Leonce, a New Orleans Creole. One summer, When she is twenty-eight, something inside her starts to shift. She's not fully aware of what's happening, but she knows she feels different. Gradually she stops obeying social convention
Jan 25, 2011 Lina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Goldsmith
I read this book for the first time when I was sixteen, before I understood myself as a feminist or an artist or had any sense of my own possibilities or power, and it changed my life. This story for me is a cautionary one about the danger of awakening to your reality and trying to take control of your own life before you have the necessary skills, a community or a system of support. Edna is invalidated by her husband and his world, abandoned by her lover, and not truly believed in by the one wo ...more
Feb 17, 2011 maricar rated it really liked it
I admit it’s difficult to try to put up what I think would be my own review of The Awakening without it being influenced by Sandra Gilbert’s introduction (uhmm, so maybe I shouldn’t bother, eh). And yes, this reading was done haltingly, in between long stretches of intervals… *shakes fist* damn you, attention span shot to hell!

To posit Edna Pontellier as a ‘mother-woman’ on the verge of going through minute yet slyly rapturous, if harrowing, changes from within which would ultimately coalesce in
Mar 30, 2011 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I haven't finished the entire book yet - I'll get to the short stories in the next day or so. But I finished "The Awakening," and I'm not sure just what I think of it yet, thus I've given it somewhat of an ambivalent 3-star rating. (Warning: my review contains information about the plot...)

This was an interesting read, made more so by understanding the era in which it was written (late 1800s) and that women back then didn't have the right to be as autonomous as they are in today's world. Edna is
Sep 22, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't a book that caught my interest right away- I picked it up only to read a few pages and then put it down again several times.

However, as the protagonist came more to life so too did the book. I found Edna both more interesting and more sympathetic as the book progressed.

Chopin's style was interesting, too- sometimes lushly descriptive, sometimes spare- and generally quite Modernist in tone.

I can see why some people loathe this book: there isn't much in the way of external action, an
I've read The Awakening, but not when I was mature enough to understand/realize what immense affect it was. I will re-read in that regard,
Apr 28, 2016 Poppy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Since discovering this gem while studying, it has become a firm favourite and a rarity in that I can reread it many times and it never loses appeal. I’m certainly not surprised it figures on most ‘best novella’ lists – even the heavily male-author orientated ones – as Chopin created not just a compelling story set in southern america during the late 1890s, which can be savoured in its own right, she also produced an iconic tale that challenges the perceptions and expectations of a woman’s ‘place ...more
Ok, so I read The Awakening for class, and I did not read the other short stories in the book, as they were not assigned. However, since the book is that main story, I consider it read. (And after reading the main story, how can I not read her other ones?)
It's actually a funny story: for my American Literature II class (ENG 226), at GVSU, we were assigned to read Kate Chopin's story from our Norton Anthology. But as I was perusing the free books at the school, I found this copy. I still ended up
As The Awakening opens during the languid days of summer we find Edna Pontellier, Kate Chopin's main character, drifting aimlessly as if through a wide expanse of ocean or a great field of grain. Edna is on vacation at Grand Isle with her husband and two young sons. She often feels the weight of her responsibilities and the casual cruelty of her husband and becomes disconsolate, but she has attracted the attention of Robert Lebron who becomes her constant companion. Edna has a tendency towards i ...more
Feb 20, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my second time to read Kate Chopin's The Awakening, the last time being in the late 1990's when I was in my twenties. I think I appreciated it even more now after decades of adulthood and years of marriage.

I also understood it differently. It seemed less like the standard narrative of a woman rebelling against her social situation and marriage (though there is obviously that), in other words, less like Madame Bovary and A Doll's House, and more like a Virginia Woolf novel in which a uni
Oct 06, 2014 Vanessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everytime I read Kate Chopin, its like talking to an old friend. This person knows and understands me well and vice versa. It is a blessing, a heaven-sent that we have Kate Chopin as part of the shapers of our history.
Sep 28, 2014 Harriet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a revelation. It's uncanny to think this was written in the 1890's. She is a beautiful writer and the novella was fascinating. To think that women are still held back from what they truly want from salaries to sex to discrimination and being told what you can and cannot do.I can see now that when I was born in the 30's, although my parents were loving and wonderful, my mother did have her ideas of what a woman could and could not do and held to the idea that a woman should never scold h ...more
Aug 15, 2016 Wynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An explanation regarding the rating: I enjoyed the end of The Awakening, the other 75% of it I found to be indulgent and repetitive, and I liked Desiree's Baby quite a lot as well. As for the remaining short stories, I had issues with remaining present and found the subject matter not all that gripping. With all of that being said however, I am completely aware of the feminist themes contained within The Awakening such as oppression, domestication of women, and patriarchal households (just to na ...more
Emi Bevacqua
Sep 30, 2014 Emi Bevacqua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was amazing to watch the unraveling of Edna Pontellier's well-to-do, refined existence in Louisiana. Despite her privileged upbringing, youth, beauty, wealth, status and creativity, this 28-year old wife and mother is stifled by the social norms of the day (this was published in 1899) and begins uncharacteristically to act out. After taking out her initial frustrations on her busy husband, she refuses to attend her sister's wedding, and then things go bananas.

I took off a star for the short
Joy  Cagil
Feb 03, 2015 Joy Cagil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book of stories by Kate Chopin beginning with Awakening, a novella. Inside the book there are 9 stories as:
1. The Awakening
2. Beyond the Bayou
3. Ma'ame Pélagie
4. Desiree's Baby
5. A Respectable Woman
6. The Kiss
7. A Pair of Silk Stockings
8. The Locket
9. A Reflection

The awakening approaches the realization of the female sexuality. The story takes place during the late 1800s in Grand Isle, a summer resort for the wealthy in New Orleans. Edna Pontellier, who is a painter, is vacationing wit
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Kate Chopin was an American novelist and short-story writer best known for her startling 1899 novel, The Awakening. Born in St. Louis, she moved to New Orleans after marrying Oscar Chopin in 1870. Less than a decade later Oscar's cotton business fell on hard times and they moved to his family's plantation in the Natchitoches Parish of northwestern Louisiana. Oscar died in 1882 and Kate was suddenl ...more
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“Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one's life.” 1268 likes
“The artist must possess the courageous soul that dares and defies” 136 likes
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