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The Awakening
 
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Kate Chopin
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The Awakening

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  114,075 Ratings  ·  4,676 Reviews
It's a portrait of a women 's discovery of the bonds of her marrage, in New Orleans. It shocked and outraged the public.
149 pages
Published 1969 by Penguin Books (first published 1899)
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Trey Yes and no. While the book explores themes of self-discovery, independence, and the role of women in society it is also critical of irrational action…moreYes and no. While the book explores themes of self-discovery, independence, and the role of women in society it is also critical of irrational action and abandoning family. It depends on the reader and the lens the book itself is viewed through.

It is lauded by some students and teachers (and commentators) as a feminist masterpiece. Others would pin it as satire or a critique of feminism. Regardless, it's an interesting story. Chopin is no Chekhov, but it's pretty entertaining and makes one think.(less)
Mary Yeah it takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kristen
Jul 08, 2011 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, kindle
Why so many ugly one star reviews? All about as insightful as the ubiquitous one star reviews of Lolita which call Nabokov the man a child molester, raving morons who can't distinguish a character from an author and go beyond simply missing the point. And how ironic that all these reviews seem to be from women raging that this book (which they all obviously read for their 'gender theory' class) features a character who abandons her children. Ugh, women who criticize this as a feminist novel beca ...more
Elizabeth
May 04, 2011 Elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(**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 more honest about
...more
Samadrita
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 of 'I'm not much of a feminist...but'. As 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 creat ...more
Brother Odd
Jan 08, 2010 Brother Odd rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 n
...more
Sparrow
Jun 09, 2013 Sparrow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kelly
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 v
...more
Sanjina
Feb 20, 2008 Sanjina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Houston
Nov 13, 2007 Houston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
“It sometimes entered Mr. Pontillier’s mind to wonder if his wife were not growing a little unbalanced mentally. 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.”(p. 79)

“What have you been doing to her, Pontillier?”
“Doing! Parbleu!”
“Has she,” asked the Doctor, with a smile, “has she been associating of late with a circle of pseud
...more
Whitney Atkinson
Nov 06, 2015 Whitney Atkinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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.
Barry Pierce
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). 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.
Stephanie
The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a beautifully written work describing a woman's search for her own self-identity.

Set in 1890's New Orleans, a restrictive type of society with definitive expectations, the place of the upper-middle class Créole woman is in the home taking care of her husband and her children. Unfortunately, there is not room in that society for a woman to have another area of focus, enabling self-fulfillment.

As this is a classic work, and several more educated folks than myself h
...more
Kelly
“It may all sound very petty to complain about, but I tell you that sort of thing settles down on one like a fine dust.”
-Warner, Lolly Willowes

This book is an early distillation of a particular kind of novel that was being written periodically throughout the early twentieth century. These novels are all variations on the same theme, but the basic outline is the same. This one will serve to give you a pretty good idea of the lot:

Edna Pontellier is the rather well-to-do wife of a New Orleans busin
...more
Alison
Jan 02, 2010 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminists
"But they need not thought that they could possess her, body and soul."

If there ever was a Feminist Manifesto, it truly is Kate Chopin's "The Awakening."

Edna Pontellier is a 28-year-old wife and mother in New Orleans, 1900. Her husband is well-off, and Edna's days consist of watching the nanny take care of her two young boys, scolding the cook over bad soup, giving and attending champagne-filled dinner parties, and receiving formal calls from high society New Orleans ladies on Tuesdays. Also, t
...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dolly
Jul 11, 2007 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women older than 25
Kate Chopin wrote this story of female self-actualization back in the late 19th century, but it's as applicable today as it was then. I think we all feel trapped by decisions we've made capriciously, and we all consider, even briefly, escape. The main character in this novel not only realizes that she has trapped herself, but she actively seeks to free herself. Her action, rather than just emotion and despair (a la Goethe), is what separates her from the herd.

Here's the low-down: Edna is a woman
...more
Chrissie
Here is another book that surprised me. I did not like the writing style at the beginning, but by the end I liked exactly that, the writing, very much. The writing is descriptive, right from the beginning, but when it starts not only the places and scenes are described, but also we are told the personality traits of the involved characters. Here is the classical problem of being "told rather than shown". After the initial presentation of the characters, only then do we begin to observe them. At ...more
Carol
Jun 13, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol by: Jean
A loveless marriage + two children + a life of leisure = a bored woman who no longer wants to be a submissive wife. Throbbing with an uncontrollable desire for the handsome Robert, 29 year old Edna decides to change her life.....resulting in an unfortunate outcome.

Beautifully written and first published in 1899 this short classic tale of a woman's independence and unorthodox decisions caused a stir with the critics and people of the time causing the novel to be banished for decades afterward....

...more
Crystal
May 23, 2008 Crystal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Crystal by: Michelle Fendrick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linds
This is supposedly a milestone in feminist literature. It's important on a historical level, but it was impossible for me to for me to get this book. The "heroine" Edna is naive at best, and a selfish spoiled brat at worst.

I love historical romance novels set during the 1800's. While those books are fun, I realize that this situation was much more realistic. Women were married to men they were very distant to and trapped in a world of ennui and as the author put it, a "quiet, vague anguish." I
...more
Sherwood Smith
It's interesting to read an end-of-the-century novel from the opposite side of the intervening twentieth century, for though there is in Chopin's novel no preoccupation with the remorseless cycle of measured time, the intervening hundred years--and all their evolutions, both cultural and literary--are going to be part of the modern reader's context.

Be aware: this is somewhat spoilery.

As the novel unfolds, it is very difficult to like Edna Pontellier. In these days of two paychecks being requir
...more
Heather
Sep 06, 2014 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few of my all time favorite excerpts are from this book ...

When Mlle Reisz asks Edna why she loves him, when she shouldn't and she says:

"...Because his hair is brown and grows away from his temples; because he opens and shuts his eyes, and his nose is a little out of drawing; because he has two lips and a square chin, and a little finger which he can't straighten from having played baseball too energetically in his youth. Because '"

"Because you do, in short."

And ... "...when I left her today,
...more
Alex
Aug 03, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Bear with me: when I watched the Clint Eastwood movie Unforgiven I felt like Eastwood was ending an entire genre. This is tired, said Clint, its beats are tired, its cliches are tired, there's nothing more for it to say, I'm gonna give you one last great Western and that's enough, okay? And the movie had such overwhelming eulogic power that it almost succeeded.

(It didn't, of course, but it was years before anyone dared to make another one.)

And I got the same feeling from The Awakening. I felt th
...more
Fiona
Does anyone really grow out of crushing on people? You're going to turn around and tell me you have, now, aren't you - that it's years since you had one, you can't even remember when it was, although you vaguely remember who it was.

I'm not like that. I crush constantly; on people I know, people I don't, people out of my own imagination. They last anything from a few months to a few years, and I never admit them to anyone, during or afterwards. I keep a list in my diary, intermittently; there's a
...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
My 1.5-star review is here.

Still not posting any monetizabe data on Goodreads.
Pink
Blimey, I didn't see that end coming...

This was an early feminist work, about a woman's struggles against conformity of society and married life. Written in 1899, it wasn't recognised as any sort of feminist work until much later, though I think it is still little heard of today.

I read this for a feminist group choice and I'm glad to have discovered it. There were elements that reminded me of Madame Bovary, with the main character feeling unsatisfied with her seemingly comfortable married life.
...more
Bruce
Aug 22, 2013 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For such an initially simple and straightforward story this seems well and intriguingly written, conveying initial stirrings of dissatisfaction and desire, the sense that life is less than it might be, that one should be able to have and achieve more, not so much in terms of material objects as in terms of self-actualization, human flourishing, what Aristotle called eudaemonia. Life for Edna is not all that she had hoped it would be, not what she senses that it can be, and she feels limited and ...more
Connie
Published in 1899, "The Awakening" is a story revolving around personal and sexual freedom for women. The book was set in New Orleans and nearby coastal areas where women--and any property they accumulated after marriage--were considered the property of their husbands. Divorce was almost non-existent in that Catholic area.

Edna and Leonce Pontellier are vacationing at a coastal resort with their two little sons. Leonce is a generous husband in material ways, but does not connect well emotionally
...more
Skylar Burris
This book is considered a classic partly, I think, because it is considered to be one of the earliest feminist novels. It seems to me to have a lot more to do with the contrast between two cultures, Anglo and Creole. I guess it must be a feminist novel, though, because the main character engages in a profound and courageous assault on the domineering patriarchal establishment: she gets bored with her average life to her mostly decent husband, commits adultery, and then kills herself. How liberat ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
Set in the late 1800's this is a beautifully written, gentle book about the awakening of a woman to a side of herself she had never suspected existed.

Edna married her businessman husband Leonce "quite by accident" when he fell madly in love with her. He appears to be a good husband, provides well for his wife and family, but is quite controlling, his life, and therefore Edna's, dictated by the social mores of the time.

She has had a slightly unorthodox upbringing and holds some radical views on m
...more
Liz Janet
Jan 21, 2016 Liz Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.”

I read this book during my senior year of high school, and I am grateful for that, because without all the analyzing and discussion, I would not have been able to understand it an
...more
Kathryn
Jul 07, 2011 Kathryn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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
More about Kate Chopin...

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“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.” 2174 likes
“The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude.” 248 likes
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