Sanjina’s review of The Awakening > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Josephine (new)

Josephine (biblioseph) I find your review interesting--if you can, see if The Storm by Chopin is available to read online. I felt her writing is very good in that, and the message for proto-feminism was powerful. I may not agree with that protagonists actions, but it was a very important thing that she was saying. You may find it just as ignorant, however. *shrug* It's not long though, so I thought you might enjoy it.

message 3: by Jason (new)

Jason i quite agree with this summation~ she never makes the leap to something more she sheds the old, and then fades away

message 4: by Brandon (new)

Brandon "become the town trollop while engaging in pseudo intellectual banter and hysterics."

It is almost as if you are an echo of the restrictive society Chopin was writing about, which is not hard to imagine since our society has not totally changed, just morphed. You labor under the impression that Edna's actions have no reason whatsoever, that she should have behaved rationally and differently. This is you imposing your outside 21st century perspective on a novel written during the 19th. The novel is, you are correct, about Edna's awakening but what is important to consider is what she has awakened from and to wonder how it might affect her ability to function normally. Edna has her entire life been formed and molded, put into a box if you will, by the dominant society (represented in some ways by most Mr. Pontellier, Alce Arobin, and even Robert). This dominant culture has shaped every facet of her behavior and even informed her thinking and once broken out of it is not a simple matter of getting over it.

You also make the mistake of assuming that Robert has a "better sense of reality" when really Robert is quite stuck in the repressive ideology from which Edna has awakened. Think back to when Edna tells Robert, whose greatest dream is to be married to Edna (the author's implication here is that the only way Robert can see to rebel is through the institution of marriage, one with a strong history of subjugation of women) that she is nobody's property to give away he is starkly dumbfounded, unable even to think as Edna does. He acts so because his sense of "reality" is so defined by the dominant and repressive society that he cannot conceive of another way of living. Robert does not remain with Edna because the sheer difference of her modes of thinking are incompatible with the regime from which he cannot himself break free.

message 5: by Erin (new)

Erin Wow, this review completely hit the nail on the head as far as what I wanted to say in mine. So much potential for awesomeness, so much ridiculous failure. No banners for Edna.

message 6: by Pamela (new)

Pamela I think you have confused the author with the main character. Just because the main character isn't always "smart" or sympathetic doesn't mean Chopin is a poor writer.

message 7: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia Pamela wrote: "I think you have confused the author with the main character. Just because the main character isn't always "smart" or sympathetic doesn't mean Chopin is a poor writer."

so true, Pamela. and just because Edna doesn't do it "Right" in our view, doesn't make it a terrible story. It IS a story and a beautifully written one...Every story does not need to fulfill a politcal conceit that we deem correct. It is just what it is..nothing more ...the author could have written about a woman who realized she couldn't make it on her own....would that be better or just different..I think the whole idea is that at that time it was probably almost impossible to make it on her own....and even now, especially in this economy, there are thousands and thousands of unhappy wives who have nowhere to turn to make their own lives....

message 8: by Brian (new)

Brian Mortimer An accurate appraisal. This is probably the worst novel I have ever read.

message 9: by Kallie (new)

Kallie 1) Chopin's work was not ignored. Her Her regional and other fiction sold well, before 'The Awakening,' after which people generally (like you and others commenting so negatively) condemned her. 2) The comparison with earlier feminists is not apt. The late 19th and early 20th century was an era during which American women were generally more subjected to capitalist, consumerist agendas; the 'experts' took over and encouraged true, womanly women to return to their homes and consume products and pursue home economics and faint and wheeze inside their corsets; if they were poor, they worked in factories and produced what was consumed. Aphra Behn, Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley were from more enlightened eras and families and social situations that respected the arts and philosophy (not so true of these United States). Their circumstances can't be compared with the oppressive (for women) Victorian era. In short, most women of the middle and upper classes were like Edna. The Suffragettes of that period endured a great deal of brutality exerted to keep women in their place. If few women braved being beaten, jailed and force-fed, I think it tacky to blame them. Btw, who are the other women Creole writers in Louisiana, then or earlier? You don't say and I would like to read them. And how does someone's work "seethe ignorance"?

message 10: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Mary Wollstonecraft only wrote one novel and it managed to be even worse than this. This is mostly about how ugly other women are, that was mostly abut how stupid other women are.

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