Existential Book Club discussion

The Awakening
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Book Discussions > The Awakening by Kate Chopin

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Rachel Louise Atkin | 54 comments Mod
July's book is The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Should be an interesting one since I've never read this before and isn't always classed as an existentialist text, but think we could look at it from an existentialist perspective and get some discussion out of it.

Leave thoughts and comments down below and enjoy the book.

Rachel Louise Atkin | 54 comments Mod
So glad we read this book because I enjoyed it immensely, more than I expected to. I think it's a good one to discuss because it's not usually held up as an existential novel but there's a lot of the theory that you can read into it.

I really believe that Edna's 'awakening' in this story is an existential awakening. She realises that she isn't fated to be just a wife or defined by her connection to her husband, and seeks to make her own choices. She really takes control of her own existence and, to use Sartre's term, realises that she's been living in bad faith.

Also think the ending is very interesting in terms of Camus's ideas of suicide and nihilism. In my opinion, part of Edna's suicide is that she becomes so overwhelmed by her freedom in the world that she let's it destroy her. Guess you could all this existential anguish, or it could simply be her heartbreak because of Robert, but I think it's a very Camus-esque way to end the story.

Would really love to hear what people thought of the story, even if nothing to do with existentialism.

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