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The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  17,957 ratings  ·  842 reviews
The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction, by Kate Chopin, is part of the
Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

New introductions commissio
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 28th 2005 by Barnes Noble Classics (first published 1899)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,957 ratings  ·  842 reviews

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Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, fiction
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 “
I first read The Awakening some years ago, I think in a cheap edition with a couple of her other stories. It made an impression on me as an archetypal nineteenth century story of an upper class woman achieving a degree of personal liberation and then finding in typical nineteenth century style that there was no place for her apart from in the graveyard (view spoiler).

Anyhow last year I read a small collection of five of her short stories: A pair of Silk s
Apr 24, 2009 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

2019 update:

I actually meant to update my rating for "The Awakening" AGES ago because I ended up using the novella as my main piece of literature in my gigantic English Major Writing Seminar essay and I really found myself enjoying it the more I worked with it and its become my go-to novel when discussing American literature.

that being said, this semester i had to read a handful of the selected short stories by Chopin and I enjoyed this just as much as her novella! Chopin has just a wond

The Awakening 7.0/10

An interesting, if somewhat meandering tale of a Victorian woman's "awakening". Chopin's prose is clear and precise so it becomes easy to fall into the trail of Edna Pontellier's slow emergence into self-hood, but I couldn't help but feel that Chopin's abilities were much more suited to the shorter fiction she wrote. There isn't enough magic in her "grand reveal" for one knows exactly what's going to happen to Edna from the end of the second chapter, and there isn't eno
The Awakening
Kate Chopin was a Mom of five and unfortunately a Widow living in Louisiana. After her Husband's death she was left with a huge debt that was followed shortly after the loss of her Mother leaving her extremely depressed. Chopin's Doctor suggested she write for therapeutic and finances to help her through.
Chopin wrote The Awakening in 1899 about Edna and her struggles with social attitudes toward women. It is also about how she perceives herself and who she actually is. In Louisana
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
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
I spent an entire afternoon reading the short stories in this book, enthralled and enraptured, skipping "luncheon" to bathe in the hedonistic tendencies of Chopin's women. I am now tempted to spent all of my student loans in some tailor's shop, a fine restaurant, a play. I am tempted to sleep with the neighbor and call it infidelity, though I'm not bound to any man. And mostly, because of this, I am happy to be free and alone, to have my options open in modern day life, to follow my thoughts and ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
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
Mafalda Fernandes
The Awakening - 4.5*

I want to save and savor the other short stories for another time since I don't have other Kate Chopin works to read.
Dannii Elle
This collection of Chopin’s short fiction has been languishing on my shelves for years. I had previously read, and not much cared for, one of the short stories featured here and it inhibited me from eagerly returning to the rest of this author’s work. I decided to space out this book’s contents over the course of a fortnight and am a little sad to say that I am not convinced, after reading them, that Chopin is the author for me.

I adored the longest tale collected here, which was the title novell
Nov 04, 2014 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
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
Recommended to Dusty by: Carly Sweder, John González
Shelves: read-in-2010
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
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
2016: 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.

2020: I quite enjoyed a few of these short story this time: Ma’ame Pélagie, A Pair of Silk Stockings, and A Locket. I also was better able to analyze elements of The Awakening. I really loved how Chopin c
E. G.
Aug 15, 2014 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"
A complex text. On the one hand, it chronicles, somewhat sympathetically, worthless waste of space proprietor losers in New Orleans, who are unwilling to do anything for themselves and accordingly would not survive without their legions of anonymous servants, whom they identify on the basis of skin color alone and about whom they complain constantly despite their abject dependence thereupon (cf. Agamben on Aristotle regarding slavery and the 'use of bodies')—a presentation in which the Civil War ...more
Genia Lukin
Oct 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other, classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel Lu
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century
More and more, it seems like I read books in snippets, a few pages or chapters at a time, forcing myself to sit still and stay focused on the text in front of me. I’ve discussed with multiple friends this strange disenchantment, the inability for novels to wholly draw me into their world as they did when I was younger so that I would sit for hours on end enveloped in the ineffable magical quality of the novel. I randomly picked up The Awakening this week as I was sifting through books I own but ...more
S. Adam
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Okay, technically, I haven't finished reading the book because I still need to read the short stories that follow The Awakening. However, I must write what I think about Chopin's prized story before it escapes me. I absolutely disliked Edna Pontellier. I came into this novel with many expectations, primarily that this would be an amazing feminist novel. Nope! It was not, which I am okay with. I am not okay with how unhappy Edna is with her life. Yeah, her husband isn't super romantic, but her li ...more
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
Free download available at Project Gutenberg

Just arrived from Canada through BM.

A very touching novel, I loved it.
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like some of Chopin's short stories so it was kind of disappointing to get to the Awakening and find that there really isn't that much to it. Beyond anything, I'm confused by it, because when I think of feminist texts, this just doesn't seem to do the trick. This is completely up to interpretation and debate, of course, but Edna Pontellier just doesn't scream "feminist hero" to me. Feminism (at least in my mind) should be embracing one's identity as a woman and seeking equality with men. Here, ...more
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
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
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
Paula W
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this.

I think this novella made me a bit uncomfortable, though. I saw a lot of myself in Edna, and that's probably why I kept needing to put this book down and find something else to do for a little while.
"A southern woman in a bad marriage who finds herself in a new place one day where her eyes are opened to realize that things shouldn't be the way they are" hit me like an intensely personal ton of bricks, because I've been there.

Of course, it was easier for me to end a marriag
Paula Bardell-Hedley
"She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before."
This short but impassioned novel, first published at the turn of the 19th century, portrays a new way of thinking; a dissension among the women of North America and Europe, which caused excitement and consternation in equal measure.

Kate Chopin's clever, lyrical story, set on the Louisiana Gulf coast and in New Orleans, draws on the lives of the Franco-Creole beau monde, using their apparently sparkling lives as a backdrop to highl
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)
Emi Bevacqua
Sep 30, 2014 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
Chase Anderson
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Reread from high school; I remembered almost nothing but the ending. The writing is beautiful.
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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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