I did not particularly enjoy this novel until the end where Edna Pontellier commits suicide. Edna’s decision of drowning herself in the sea makes complete sense to me. She always has a special connection to the sea; the sea is the place where she connects her body and soul together. Responding to the question about whose fault it is that Edna dies, I think it is both Edna’s and the society’s fault. It can be Edna’s fault because she does not seem to appreciate her husband and her children and decides to have affairs. A grown woman should be responsible of her own action. However, it is not Edna’s fault entirely. The way that society is set up also influences her decision. Choices are always limited for women during that time period; women were expected to marry a man and to remain faithful and loyal to her family no matter what happens. Although Edna has a relatively nice husband, she does not love him. Their marriage is described to be ‘an accident’. In this case, I understand why Edna is tempted to have affairs with other men. Her decision is also influenced by the confusion that is caused between her husband’s culture – Creole, that is more open about sexuality than her own background that is a lot more conservative.
The Awakening is a book we recently read in class. It was written a few centuries ago and as it was first published it was heavily criticized and created a scandal by the society. It was only in 1970’s, due to feminism, when the book was found again and people read it without criticism.
When we read the first couple of chapters of this book I thought to myself, “ohhh I like this book”. It seems like any other romance movie, where the true love meet and stay together forever. After getting deeper into the book, where Edna and Robert spend a long time in each other’s company, I kept waiting for that moment when something will happen between them, as it seems that they are true love of one and other. As the readers we know it is completely wrong and horrible to have an affair and be unfaithful, yet we still want them to take their relationship one step up.
This book seems predictable, as though the readers will know exactly what will happen next, but it surprised me every time. Each time we think A is going to happen, C is happening. This kept the reading not dull and very interesting. When Robert come back after leaving to Mexico, we expect him to rum to Edna and confess his love to her. Yet the opposite happens. He tells her that he came back because business would have been the same in either place, and he didn’t like Mexico very much. But we know that he does love her. So why does he lie? Why does not Edna tell’s Robert how she feels? I think they are both so scared of what society will think and say that they dong think of their needs and wishes.
I think it was irresponsible and immature, especially immoral for Edna to commit suicide, as her life is not her own, but there are other people in this world whom are depending on her. Her children, even tough her love to them is different from the “mother women”, have only one biological mother, and they are still in the stage where they need her. She lives in a society that yes, is hard and does not expect many things, but she still made choices, and if one makes the wrong choice the circumstances are not going to be easy either. Instead of Edna fighting through these difficulties she takes the “easy way out” outing herself from the circumstances and obligation she has and commit suicide.
To be honest I don’t know whether I like this book or not. I like it because you get shoved into their world, pretending you are a part of these characters’ life. The drama in the book never stops and there is always something new happening. Also, Edna is discovering herself, who she is, what she is and what is her purpose. It may seem as though it is somewhat too late for her to discover these things. She already got married and steeled down with 2 children. On the other hand, reading this book was quite awkward and uncomfortable, as things are left for the imagination. A fair amount of this book is about sex, however, since Chopin does not clearly state this, it is left for our imagination to figure out what happens between the characters.
“The Awakening” the sensuous novel by Kate Chopin was an enjoyable novel. It was interesting to see the development of the main character “Edna” as she becomes more independent. Her actions become increasingly defiant of what is expected from woman during her time. It seemed to me that this was the most interesting aspect of the novel and not so much the developing relationship between Edna and Robert. Edna’s death did not come as a complete surprise to me. The bird in the cage, introduced at the beginning of the novel, represents Edna’s lack of freedom and the independence she gains afterwards is seen as her “awakening”. It is ironic that her awakening would lead her to take her own life, however it may also be seen as a last act of independence, defying expectations.
The novel seems to be supporting women’s right by displaying women’s lack of freedom, of which is restricted by societies expectations. These are all shown through Edna’s thoughts and it is Edna’s development and newly discovered independence that reflects on the progression of women’s rights within society.
‘The Awakening’ by Kate Chopin is one of the better books, which we have read so far in English. I enjoyed the book, since Chopin has a similar writing style as Ibsen. I mean that it is more about women and their feelings in the 19th century, when there were certain rules that divided men and women. I find that this topic is a very interesting one and the way Chopin makes Edna break these rules.
Another factor is how the Chopin is certain parts more detailed, during Edna’s awakening. This also happens during Edna’s dinner party, when Chopin blends the real world with Edna’s “fantasy world”. This blend is really well done and very interesting, since the scene becomes really big and fantastic, but in reality, it is small and easily decorated.
I also like how Chopin uses the images of Venus and Bacchus. The image of Venus is very clear at the end of the book, when Edna is standing naked on the beach.
“…How strange and awful it seemed to stand naked under the sky! how delicious! She felt like some new-born creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world that it had never known…” (175).
This is when Chopin is using the image of Venus in ‘The Awakening”. This is also one interesting part, since Edna is awoken and realizes that the only way to get out of this world is through death.
I loved and hated “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, it was a very interesting to read the progress and transformation of Edna into a dependent and free-minded person. But, I can not understand why she chose to ‘change’ or ‘transform’ in such a way that she had to sacrifice her family, her beliefs and her personality. Chopin made Edna transform in a very extreme way, it was to allow Edna to find her true self and awaken from the ‘nightmare’ she was living in. But from other character’s perspective Edna was living the dream, she had two lovely children, a beautiful house and a very generous husband. Edna on the other hand, thought that her marriage to Leonce Pontillier was purely an incident and it wasn’t going well. Edna gradually identifies what she wants to become and who she wants to become. Throughout the novel, Edna starts to ‘awaken’ from the ‘nightmare’ she was living in. Then she started to change her personality, belief and actions to become the ‘New Edna’ a new born person in the world. Even Mr. Pointellier realized her unusual behaviour “but she doesn’t act well. She’s odd, she’s not like herself. I can’t make her out”. The scandalised and immoral actions of Edna and her affairs made her realise this is what she wanted a happy relationship with Robert. It is still shocking how a mother can just abandon her family for her own needs, there is no justification for her immoral actions. Also, all of her actions was very selfish, she only thought about her own needs, wants and she priorities herself in front of family. However, this is what it took for Edna to become the ‘New Edna’ where she took control of her life and made her own choices.