The Awakening by Kate Chopin is one of my least favourite pieces of literature that we have studied this year. I had trouble reading it and kept getting lost and having to reread passages. The actual plot of the book is not the boring part. It is the English that was spoken and how it was spoken, and how there is too much narration and description rather than dialogue and conversation.
Kate Chopin does a great job of representing a whole group of people in the character Edna. This also made the story more interesting as it added a plot. In the 1800s women were not leaders of their families and basically took a “motherly” role and took care of the children. Edna, after realizing that she was in love with someone else started to find out who she really was. This made the book more fun to read as she was always breaking societal rules, such as infidelity.
Mr. Pontellier was thought to be the perfect husband by almost every character in the book. I never really liked his character. He, like Torvald from A Dolls House and Mr. Higgins from Pygmalion is ignorant. He tries to do all these nice things like buying her gifts, but he doesn’t really know what she wants out of him. He does not treat her as his wife, he treats her as his property. There are faults to both Mr. Pontellier and Edna that could easily be fixed with a simple conversation.
I do not think Edna has the right to cheat on her husband, especially with two different people. I understand that divorce was not really an option in this time, but she could have tried to tell him how she was feeling.
We can tell that Edna was never really free being married to Mr. Pontellier. “I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier’s possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose” (p. 128). Robert brings her joy which never seems to happen when she is with Mr. Pontellier. “The sentiment which she entertained for Robert in no way resembled that which she felt for her husband, or had ever felt, or ever expected to feel” (p. 55). She should be telling Mr. Pontellier how she feels because her life to me begins to feel wasted. She knows that Robert makes her feel happier. Even the description about her moving to a different house brought her more freedom which shows how she was trapped with Mr. Pontellier and wanted to escape.
In conclusion I did not really like this novel but Kate Chopin does a good job making the reader make judgments on the characters and what they could have done in different situations.