Bam's Reviews > The Awakening

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
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#2106-usa-geography-challenge: LOUISIANA

Sad to say, marital unhappiness, infidelity and divorce are no longer shocking. There are as many reasons as there are troubled marriages. Women who married young may find themselves stifled in a loveless marriage, one that both parties have outgrown. Perhaps they stay together merely for the sake of the children. A choice might have been made to become a wife and mother and leave behind the dream of an exciting life that might have been. But a backward glance reveals that road less traveled is still beckoning. Or perhaps it is the promise of true love, a soulmate this time around.

But in the late 1800s, it was very unusual for a young wife and mother to want to leave her successful husband and adoring children to find something more personally fulfilling--to toss aside the accepted social norms in the pursuit of love and passion, independence and freedom.

Young Madame Pontellier experiences a feeling of sensuousness for the first time in her life while she and her family are summering on the Grand Isle. Robert, the resort owner's son and the object of her affection, has been known to have summer dalliances and is warned away from pursuing Madame Pontellier so he leaves the island abruptly to pursue business opportunities in Mexico.

Upon the Pontellier family's return to New Orleans, she realizes "her husband seemed to her now like a person whom she had married without love as an excuse." He, on his part, is at a loss to understand the changes in her, especially when she begins to cut all her normal social ties. He is advised by his father-in-law to "put your foot down good and hard, the only way to manage a wife."

Does she have a courageous soul that dares to defy convention? "The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings."

For me, the best part of this classic short feminist novel, is the expression of her inner thoughts and emotions and her struggles to build a new life for herself. "She had resolved never again to belong to another than herself." But I would have wished for a better ending, something more uplifting and triumphant.
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Reading Progress

May 4, 2015 – Shelved
May 4, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
May 10, 2016 – Started Reading
May 10, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-reading-challenge
May 10, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-2017-usa-geography-challenge
May 10, 2016 – Shelved as: i-own-it
May 10, 2016 – Shelved as: classics
May 10, 2016 – Shelved as: feminism
May 10, 2016 – Shelved as: 1001-books-to-read-before-you-die
May 10, 2016 –
May 11, 2016 – Finished Reading

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