The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Personal Response:

I found this book very interesting and very honestly more enjoyable to read. Kate Chopin had written the book at the beginning like it was going to be the typical book you read about romance as if the reader will predict what’s going to happen just by reading the first few chapters. At first, I thought this book was going to be another normal and happily ever after romance book, but to my surprise, it didn’t turn out like that at all. Reading more and more of the book caught me off guard, just like when I had read Pygmalion. I thought at first that Eliza would end up with Mr.Higgins, but it didn’t happen, the same with Edna and Robert.

Being on the topic of Edan I don’t think she was a bad mother or person. Edan had always put others’ needs before her own. It had come a bit in class discussions that Edna was neglecting her children, but the children of Edna and Leonce came up briefly. When they had come up in the story it normal was when Mr. Pontellier was worried about his children. There were no signs that Edan neglected her children or that she didn’t care for her children as well. Edna in this story to me shows quite clear signs that she cares for her children and doesn’t neglect them one bit. An example of this would be in chapter three when Mr. Pontellier came home late from Klein’s Hotel. Mr. Pontellier had gotten back to the cabin and thought that Raoul was coming down with a fever, Edna in response said that he was fine and that he didn’t have a fever. At first, I had thought she was neglecting one of her kids, but after reading the text after her response, I realized that I had only thought that because Mr. Pontieller had made it seem like she was. Mr. Pontellier had thought she was a bad mother and put an image that she was even though Edna wasn’t a bad mother at all. She had been with her kids when Mr. Pontellier had left and out of the two of them, she would be the one to know if her kids were sick or not. Also, I think that if Edna didn’t care about her children I don’t think she would have held, Etienne when he was still awake while they were out. If she had not cared for her children she would have done nothing and walked passed him as if he wasn’t there.

I also think Edna received hate which I think and believe to be unfair. In the class discussion, it’s come up that she was a bad person. To me, I saw it as that she wasn’t allowed to be human and shouldn’t have her own opinions, thoughts, and wishes. Near the end of the story, Edna had finally started to do things for herself and started to put herself first, but as soon as she did she had started receiving hate. I think that Edna slowly started to realize that she wanted to start to put herself first and do things that would befit her well-being. She had no longer confined to doing things because she saw it as her duty to put everyone else first and then her second. This reminds me of Nora from the story A Doll’s House by Henrik Isben, Nora had done as she was told and acted the way her husband expected her to act. Nora later seemed to be unhappy with herself and wanted to start putting herself first, just like Edna.

This book certainly surprised me somewhere towards the middle of the book. I was very pleased reading this book and didn’t think that it would be very interesting at all if I’m being completely honest. I also had grown to sympathize with Edan after chapter four and so on, she had received so much hate and was being pinned as the bad person in this story. I think Edna had done the right thing by starting to put herself first, and even though she started putting herself first she never put herself first when it had come to her children, proving also that she does care for her children as well.

The Awakening Personal Response

After reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin, I was left to wonder about many things, was Edna a good mother, was Edna a good wife, did Edna truly act like a child and many more. The main one I kept thinking about was, was Edna a good mother to Etienne and Raoul? Throughout the book in our class discussions there was a lot of back and forth about this question, she seems like she only cares for herself and neglects them, or she seems like she cares a lot about them but wants them to grow up and be their own person. 

I believe that Edna was a good mother, multiple times in the book she is seen taking care of her kids and doing things to help them. An example of this is when Edna comes home and Etienne hasn’t been able to sleep or calm down so she picks him up and consoles him till he is sleeping, another example is when her kids are playing in the sun and she moves them to the shade and gets upset with the maid for letting them in the sun for so long. At the end of the book when she is trying to make all of her final decisions she kept repeating to herself “To-day it is Arobin; to-morrow it will be someone else, it makes no difference to me, it doesn’t matter about Leonce Pontellier—but Raoul and Etienne!” (p.136). I don’t think that Edna didn’t want her kids or marriage, she didn’t want the sexist norms or that life, she did love and care for her children but she also wanted her own freedom and to be able to live her own life how she wanted. 

In conclusion, I do believe that Edna is a good mother and always had been, she took care of both of her kids all the time she just wasn’t coddling towards them, she was letting them be independent because she wanted her own independent life. She always thought about them and how they would feel, she just had to think about herself too. 

Personal Response to The Awakening

In Kate Chopin’s, The Awakening, she presents a radicalized idea of society through the viewpoint of Edna Pontellier. Chopin contrasts Edna with two others feminine characters, Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz, constructing a spectrum of “Victorian femininity”.

Adele falls on one extreme side of the spectrum. She is presented as the opposite of Edna, the Victorian feminine ideal. An embodiment of the perfect women, Adele has no desires or real identity outside her role as a mother and wife. She centers her life around her family and domestic duties, prioritizing their wants and needs. By introducing Adele as a close friend of Edna, Chopin provides readers with a clear and striking contrast. This emphasizes the conflicting views of the characters, increasing the significance of Edna’s refusal to conform to societal norms. On the other side of the spectrum, Mademoiselle Reisz is characterized as a rude and ill-tempered woman. She rejects the socially accepted lifestyle of Adele, opting for a life solitude and independence. Mademoiselle serves as a muse and inspiration to Edna, the catalyst of Edna’s radicalization. The relationship between Mademoiselle Reisz and Edna acts as an eye-opener for Edna, allowing Edna to seek an unknown side of her identity, exploring her new-found emotional dept and spiritual freedom.

Throughout the novel, Edna is presented with a dilemma. She could either conform to the socially accepted identity of a Victorian women, living a boring albeit comfortable life, or break away from society’s fixed boundaries, prioritizing her own wants and needs. Choosing the latter, she is immediately met with criticism, stemming from both within and outside the bounds of the novel. Edna is frequently described as “selfish,” a word I find unfitting. The word “selfish” has a negative connotation, portraying Edna in bad light. In my opinion, Edna brings up an intriguing discussion about society.

The concept of society has always been present. However, I question the extent to which society should play a role in dictating the lives of its community. While society is natural and essential for continual of human life, it creates rigid boundaries for its community. Anything that falls outside these margins is automatically rejected and condemned, whereas actions that conform to these norms are accepted and praised. Although society is beneficial to some, to others it acts as a handcuff, restraining their true passions and desires. This realization made me question the true purpose of society, whether society may be what is holding us back from becoming the best versions of ourselves. A difference in opinion has led to the change in norms
and radicalization has made progress throughout time. Ideas that were previously seen as unacceptable are more prone to acceptance in the current time. Nevertheless, change is a long and frustrating process, and I wonder whether the concept of society is source of problems, whether it would warrant systemic change.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin Personal Response

At first I was a little sceptical about reading the book, I thought it would be boring and reading “At the ‘Cadian Ball” and “The Storm” did not help at all. I am not going to lie, I hated reading the book at first, I found it boring, one dimensional, had too many names, too much drama that was not drama because it never became a problem; but after a while I started to grow a liking to Edna. Kate Chopin did not make Edna like the other characters, in the plays and books that we read, for example, in “A Doll’s house” Nora if she were a normal and logical person at that time, she would of never left her husband and kids without planing or she would have to come back in the end from her poor decision, it is those fairy tale finishes that happen but not quite right. On the other hand Edna’s characters has complex emotions but not exaggerated. She was a good mother but not in a way you will expect, she did take care of her children but wasn’t there all of the time. She fell in love with other people while being in a relationship and she accepted those feeling as they came, never neglecting them. She felt lustful when her husband and lover left, causing her to sleep with a man she just found attractive.

Kate Chopin gave us the most person like characters from that time. She did not want her kids but she did love them, she loved someone else and wanted to leave with her husband, she slept with someone else that want the lover or husband and when the lover came home she just ignored him, she hated that she had to be with her friend in a hard time, because let’s be honest, being with a friend going through something that is traumatic to you is hard and sometimes you want to put yourself first. She had valid feeling for not wanting ti be there, she thought those thing but she never went through with them and stayed with her friend all the way through.

In the end after coming to the realization that she was never going to have her perfect life, and if she even wanted to have something remotely close to it she was going to have to fight for it, and fight for it hard, she just went to the place she knew she would find peace, the ocean. She got to the shore and freed herself from her worries, the ocean calling her name, she swam until she got tired, not with the intention of killing herself but to free herself, but what is the difference really, for her those thing are completely different, for her killing herself is not wanting to be alive and hating life, and being freeing herself is letting go of her worries; if you put them side by side they are the same thing really, we do not know what happened after that feeling of nostalgia but we can all imagine what did.

In a way I relate to Edna, she wants to leave, she want to stop fighting and have a tranquil life, a happy life, one without worries, but if you are human that is impossible. Looking for that way to feel free, to relax but still not letting go of life.

I hope she was able to get to shore, leaving her old life behind start a new one, alone, on the beach, I hope she was able to smell those flowers again, and cherish the memories she made —with Mlle Reisz, Mme Ratignolle, Alcée Arobin, Léonce, her children, and Robert Lebrun— but not missing them, get a new old dog she could hear barking. I just hope she was able to come back and enjoy the little things in life.

PR: The Awakening

Out of all of the pieces of literature we have studied this year, The Awakening by Kate Chopin has to be the story that caught my attention the most. This book may not have been the most interesting to read – in fact I would even say that it was the least entertaining piece of literature we have read so far. I did not particularly enjoy the actual reading of this book, however there are other things that did strike me as interesting.

The main thing that I noticed when reading this was how controversial it was and still is. This book deals with adultery, feminism, lesbianism and suicide, which all stuck out to me for different reasons. Feminism and lesbianism are relatively accepted today. In the 19th century when this book was written, these ideas were not so accepted and I can see how they would be controversial. Not to mention that adultery and suicide are both topics that are still controversial today. Seeing these themes in this book was really quite a shock to me as I never would have expected to read a book like this that was written in the 19th century.

After the initial shock of realizing what type of book this was, I began to think of the story and the events taking place in a more analytical sense, and how these themes tie into the suggestions of the plot. One of the big things I noticed when doing this was that there is a very strong resemblance of A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen in this book. To start, feminism is a key concept in both works. There was a big connection of the issues raised by the main female lead realizing they don’t want to be with their husband, and want to be freed from the social standards put in place by society. I had this realization in the back of my mind while reading the book, but when I read the ending, I was even more certain of my ideas. Both books end with the main female character becoming “freed” from their husbands and the socials standards mentioned previously. That being said, not everyone may see it that way. Because Edna Pontellier in The Awakening commits suicide, it is probably brushed off by most as a sad ending. For me, it gives off mixed impressions. Edna was no longer happy being confined to the norms she was forced within by society, and more importantly by her husband and father. Because of this, her committing suicide in the end may not have been a sad ending after all. If Edna would really rather be dead than forced into the life she had, then this is just an act of her standing up for herself, making her even more empowered. The fact that she went against society and the “authoritative figures” (her father and husband) in her life proves that Edna stood up for herself in a way. This action is very similar to how Nora leaves her husband who treats her the same as her father did in A Doll’s House. Notice how both women feel confined mainly by two men: their husband and their father. Both women then seek to be freed from this, and ultimately do. This raises many questions about women’s role in society. Should women be allowed to leave their families and children? Why is it seen as the mother’s duty to care for her children? Due to the time period these texts were written in, I can image how they were both very controversial.

This wasn’t the only scene that really caught my eye in The Awakening, but it was the part that made me see the strongest connection between this book and A Doll’s House. Due to my personal response already being too long for people to want to read, I can’t share any of the other connections I noticed throughout the story. Although I didn’t really enjoy reading the book, I did enjoy the story overall and especially found it interesting to look at this text and previous texts and see the connection between them.

The Awakening Personal Response

Out of all the widely discussed topics in the field of arts, love might be one of those that is the most talked about and seems to be the most complicated to grasp on. The Awakening, is one prime example that had successfully posed the question about monogamy and infidelity, not in the way that made us want to criticize Edna, but wanting to understand and empathize with her.

We had all understood that for longest time ever, monogamy is most often to be expected in every couple, simply because it works. However, it is that just because it works, Chopin had potrayed the characters so well that it is easy for us to empathize with Edna and really questions about it. Edna is married to Léonce, who in the worst case, can only be described as quite boring in the readers’ eyes since he had fulfilled all that is of his role as a father and a husband. Despite all that, Edna still questions and follow with what she desires. It is because of this that make the Awakening worth questioning: if we have a husband who can fulfill everything, what point is there to cheat on him? So in this case, we have a situation of Edna not being entirely being a selfish person, but she is on her process of understanding herself. Although it is not fully justified that it is right for Edna to cheat, but as with any responsibility Edna has, she also has a responsibility to herself, to understand who she is. This theme was also well mentioned in A Doll’s House.

The Awakening had also posed a new definition about love that is also worth considering. This is most evident in the moment when Alcée kissed Edna: she was not really in love with him, but rather wished it was Robert who kissed her. So, in this sense, we can have someone we enjoy to engage in romantic acts with but not really loving them, which had brought a new dimension into how we can look at polyamory: we can love someone but to not have sex with them, but we can also have sex but not loving the other person. It shows how much awareness Edna has and provides more depth into her characteristics.

The Awakening although did not end with a good note, but after reading it, I believe it is a well-crafted mirror for anyone who is wanting answers for this question: What is it that I am looking for a relationship?

The Awakening Personal Response

After reading “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, I had mixed emotions about how the story ended. The protagonist Edna, starts off by being happily married to her husband Leonce, with her 2 children. She is unaware of what she truly wants. As the story progresses, Edna starts to value her ambitions and independence rather than being a “good wife” Edna feels suffocated in her marriage and prioritises painting, and spends time with other men instead of doing what she is expected to do as a “good mother and wife” I think there were a lot of women in the 1800s who felt the same way Edna did, but was too afraid to verbalise their opinions or take action as going against the strict gender norms would catch others attention and harsh judgement.  I think valuing your own wishes can be a positive thing to an extent. However, I think Edna took it too far to the point where her actions were not justifiable. For example, paying little attention to her children and eventually leaving her children without a mother. 

I think Mr Pontellier, Mademoiselle Reisz, and Madame Ratignolle were great additions to the story. It helped portrait the ideal husband and wife in the 1800s and what was out of the ordinary. Madame Ratignolle advises Edna to “think about her children” when she suspects Edna for having an affair with Alcee. Mr. Pontellier reminded me of Higgins from Pygmalion. They were both portrayed as the typical materialistic husbands in the 1800/early 1900s who failed to give their wives what they truly wanted. Mr. Pontellier’s focus on business blinds him from the self realisation and emotional growth Edna is going through. This results in not noticing that Edna has left him when she rents her own house.Mademoiselle Reisz, an independent self-sufficient woman, serves as a major  inspiration throughout Edna’s awakening. Edna is drawn and inspired by Mademoiselle Reisz’s piano performance and her love and passion for music. 

The ending was not what I expected. Edna abandons her children, Leonce and ignores the advice Madame Ratignolle gives, “ think about the children” and sets herself free by going for a swim. Chopin does not make the ending clear, it is left for the readers to interpret how Edna dies. I think If she continued to live as an independent rebellious woman, Edna could have become a self-reliant woman like Mademoiselle Reisz and grow to be an extraordinary example for her children especially in the 1800s when there were strict gender norms that were to be followed. 


The Awakening Personal Response

After reading “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, it left me with doubts about Edna’s decision at the end of killing herself, whether it is right or wrong? The way it is written is in a very descriptive way to understand Edna’s feelings and the society she lives in. It was boring for me. However, the question that it raised, made me think about Edna at the end getting away wether it was right or wrong.

Edna did not want to face what people thoughts about her after everything that happened and what was about to happened. She kills herself and just thinking about her children. There is one side that we can see it as right as she is not happy in her life, she feels tied on something that she does not want to,

“She thought of Leonce and her children. They were a part in her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul” (p.137)

She was thinking of her family but she is not happy anymore, she feels obligated in something that she once felt comfortable in. In the book the author conveys different events that shows Edna trying to escape from her feelings form her life. Showing that not always mothers are comfortable with their lives. But can we justified what she did? She only thinks about her children as a way of justifying what she is doing as the right thing for her. However, if we think about the children, what is going to happen with them after knowing their mother is dead? There was another way to get out of her life like moving to somewhere else.

The author gives a drastic change at the end to convey a feminist point of view that started since the begginig with Edna’s character in their society. Being an independent woman who doesn’t like her life being “possessed” by Mr. Pontellier as in normal society. Killing herself because of society.

I did not like the book, the story was not interesting. However, the author does a good job in conveying the idea of infidelity and not make the story predictable in that idea as we are used to the consequences of it and giving it a different path with Edna’s character.

The Awakening – Personal Response

Reading this book, we get to learn about Edna’s awakening and her experiences with growing as an individual. We are able to see the hardships of her willingness to meet society’s standards of “motherhood” and how her relationships with not only her children but her romantic relationships expressed her awakening. Edna most often prioritized herself and her own independence over her children. This made me connect The Awakening directly with A Doll’s House, a play we had read previously. I see a strong resemblance in character between Nora and Edna. Both characters not truly knowing themselves and being dictated and forced to adhere to societal standards. Both women were not happy in their current state and had enough. The expectations for women in both pieces of literature were high. Women and mothers had to take on a large role in taking care of their family and being a good housewife. Edna and Nora are two women that disregarded these expectations and eventually had a turning point which resulted in them leaving for themselves. I don’t think it was wrong for these women to leave, I think it was strong of them to do so but I don’t think they should have abandoned their children.

The ending was shocking to me as I did not see the death of Edna coming. This raised many questions for me. What was Kate Chopin indicating with this ending? It was left ambiguous and up to the readers to interpret, which was not favorable for me. I question whether or not the death was intentional? What did Edna’s death represent? Was she leaving behind society and the high standards society had towards motherhood? What realization does Edna have before she swims out and loses strength? To me, I believe her death was intentional and she had to leave for herself. She might have come to the realization that the life she was living was not the life she wanted for herself. We learn that she has a perfect husband and many other companions that fill her needs, she has lovely children and many friends but she is still unhappy. She wanted rid of the high standards and expectations society had for her. Edna had always felt a sense of freedom and independence when swimming and perhaps she wanted to leave Grand Isle with that same sense of freedom and independence. 

Overall, this novel was interesting and raised many questions and further discussions, especially towards the end. I am curious to learn how other readers interpret the ending.


Personal Response on The Awakening

The Awakening by Kate Chopin illustrates Edna Pontellier’s “awakening” journey, going against social convention and doing whatever she enjoys. I will discuss how Kate Chopin raises different questions and my thoughts on the book in this response.

Edna’s journey of ‘awakening’ is Edna achieving freedom from social conventions from her friends, husband, and even children. I perceive Edna’s awakening journey as her trying to find true happiness and freedom. Chopin displays this by using the ocean to symbolize her freedom. “A feeling of exultation overtook her as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before”(p. xxx). Not only is the ocean an escape for Edna, but it also has a long history of historical importance to women’s empowerment. The moon and ocean are connected with women’s menstrual cycle, and many women goddesses, such as Aphrodite, Amphitrite, and Sirens. She even gets naked before she enters the water. This suggests that she is getting reborn. It also symbolizes she is undressing from social convention and responsibility. 

The role of being a mother is something Kate Chopin questions through Edna’s journey. I think her children are the biggest obstacle for her to be free. Throughout the story, Madame Ratigonolle often influences her on the ideal role of a mother and Edna often questions herself. “Think of the children, Edna. Oh, think of the children! Remember them!” (P.131) “The children appeared before her like little antagonists who had overcome her; who had overpowered and sought to drag her into soul’s slavery for the rest of her days. But she knew a way to elude them.” (P.127) It suggests that Edna isn’t connected to her children like the stereotypical mother would be. Some people just aren’t supposed to have kids, and Edna is one of them.

In the beginning, I was not too fond of Edna and thought she is a horrible wife and mother. I felt that she did not know how to appreciate how blessed her life was, considering that she is a middle-class, white woman. After I learned more about Edna, I thought she is a brave woman and a badass woman for going against social convention and doing whatever she pleased, especially when women did not have any authority. The process of her achieving freedom from society and letting go of the stereotypical role of a wife and even a mother was very inspiring to me. For example, should we go against social convention and do whatever we please? How would society become if we all follow Edna?

Another character that I am strongly attached to when reading is Robert. I think Robert is selfless and a true gentleman. Even if he is in love with Edna and knows that she would leave Leonce for him, he still goes to Mexico and leaves Edna in the end, knowing that it is the right thing to do. I can imagine the pain he is going through for him not staying with the love of his life and having to follow social conventions. This also shows that Robert is a victim of society. He fails to “awake” like Edna and chooses to follow what society thinks is correct. 

I found the story fascinating; however, I think the story’s ending was unnecessary and forced. Edna is presented as a strong woman and mother who does not care or give up despite society’s telling. The reason that she was so upset was that Robert had left her that night. She gives up her children, her husband, her friends and Robert, and this made me think that killing herself was selfish and inhumane. This is because she gave up her role as a mother, and the children would have to grow up without a mother and a dad that is often absent. Robert would have to live on feeling guilty, thinking that he is the cause of Edna’s death. Though I do understand why Kate Chopin would do this, as killing herself shows the amount of suffering that Edna has to bear, and she would instead give up her life than continue the suffering/following social conventions. Or killing herself is the final way of achieving absolute freedom and cutting every attachment and responsibility.


The Awakening Personal Response

The Awakening by Kate Chopin was a very interesting story that shocked me, especially towards the end. While reading this story, I was raised with many questions regarding motherhood and being a “good wife” and what that truly means. Like many novels we have read this year, I didn’t get clear answers to the many questions I had. However, by the end of the novel, I had raised many more. The two themes that stood out to me were the similarities between Edna and Nora from A Doll’s House, society’s expectations for the roles of a woman, mother, and wife concerning these women, and the symbolism of the sea in the story.

Edna is a woman who feels pressured by societal expectations and is stuck in a loveless marriage . However, throughout the novel, she slowly begins turning her thoughts into action and aligning her inner self with her outer self. This reminded me a lot of Nora from A Doll’s House. We see that at the beginning of both of these works of literature, these women feel conformed to the “roles “they must follow and towards the end, they both gain strength and go away from what society wants and do what they want. Both of these women were in relationships where they were not paid attention to like people. Even though Mr. Ponteiller was not like Torvald, the way the women felt was very similar. The feeling of being stuck. There were a lot of criticisms of how these women could abandon their children and leave. Both of these women expressed how they would not give themselves away, but that does mean they didn’t care about their families. They were both stuck in situations where all they did was care about the needs of their families and everyone around besides themselves. They both focused on the needs and requirements of their husbands, not even knowing themselves as individuals. They didn’t take the time to understand themselves as people and grow; they both had their breaking points where they rebelled and left. This shows the contrast between these two women and women at that time who felt the same way and kept silent.

The sea was a representation that was referred to several times in this novel to represent the awakening process of Edna as a woman who strived to be free and escape the life she was living. Free of being the perfect wife and the perfect mother.Free from the dominance of her husband and being confined to segregated roles. Free from all the oppression she was dealing with within herself. Free from her husband, her children and the pressure of societal norms. The sea was something Edna always observed in the novel. In the novel, we see her observing how others can swim and she cannot, representing the freedom and independence she longed for at the story’s beginning. However the end of the story, we see developments and a change when Edna approaches the sea from her perspective. Edna gains significant confidence in herself when she eventually learns to swim: “A feeling of exultation overtakes her as if some power of significant import had been given her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out….”
This passage shows that Edna was able to fight back her fears and go swimming, going deeper and deeper, leaving all the world’s responsibilities, issues and judgment behind her as the ocean taking her away forever.

Overall I had a lot of mixed emotions about this story and how I truly felt about the different characters; I don’t think it’s right for anyone to be unloyal to each other, in the case where Edna just cheated on her husband. However, the awakening of Edna and her feelings towards her life mirrored many women in the nineteenth century, as well as women today who are trapped by cultural conventions.

The Awakening – PR

The Awakening by Kate Chopin was about Edna breaking free from her traditional role in society and becoming free as a woman. The story begins with Edna in a marriage with two children. From the get go we get a feeling of disconnect from her family and her marriage to Léonce. An example is when Edna is talking with her friends and we get the passage, “they all declared that Mr. Pontellier was the best husband in the world. Mrs. Pontellier was forced to admit that she knew of none better” (p. 8). Léonce her husband is set up as a typical husband from the 1800s who is very controlling over his wife. Edna from the start feels like an object or valuable piece of jewelry to her husband as shown when Edna says, “I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier’s possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose” (p. 128). This situation that the story begins in, sets up the rest of the story for her awakening and makes the problem the book is addressing clear. 

    One of the key characters in the story is Adele. She is set up as a perfect motherly figure in order to show contrast between her and Edna. Adele is in the story shown as beautiful, earthly, never complains and basically a perfect mother. She is also pregnant which further fits her into her role in traditional society in the 1800s. On the other hand we have Edna who is shown to care for her children but doesn’t make them her life and instead prioritized herself. The existence of Adele makes Edna’s want of being a free woman more impactful and clear to see as a reader.

    This story uses other men to also show Edna’s awakening from society. She loves Robert, hooks up with Alcee Aroban, and is married to Léonce Pontelier. On the surface this may seem like she is not a very good woman however in the context of the story it makes sense. Edna wants to be free of her societal role so she doesn’t bother to stay loyal to her husband who treats her as an object and instead loves who she wants to love. This is an awakening for edna to be able to love whoever she wants however I think she is still somewhat trapped to society as shown when she commits suicide in the last chapter. I believe this is saying that the pressure from society on women is enormous and even if you try to break free society you will just ruin yourself and be all alone. This makes me wonder if the author Kate Chopin felt the same as Edna and is trying to tell us the reader that society doesn’t have room for those who break free from it. It’s as if she is criticizing the way the world is and wants society to change and becoming willing to accept people who break free from the standards.

The Awakening

The Awakening by Kate Chopin, was a very interesting and analytical read. The writing itself was done very well, but I could not help disliking it because of the extent to which it described scenes and did not get to the point in a direct way. Kate Chopin instead created the characters to be real people with real feelings and actions which I could relate to in some ways. The characters contradicted themselves to an extent, but that is what made them so life like. The endless descriptions of the scenery and the characters meticulous lives made it difficult to grasp the importance rather than the overall picture.

Kate Chopin wrote the story focused mainly upon the protagonist: Edna. She was both inspirational, and looked down upon for her actions. I viewed what she did as inspirational for woman during this time; the late 1800s, however she was written to be the extreme, proven by the many men she entangled herself with outside of her marriage. I am not confounded by the prospect of moving outside of a marriage when there is no love involved, being a reader however, I cannot help but see the way she goes about this as unnecessarily hurtful to the people around her. I would hope that there would be other possibilities or ways that she could free herself of her marriage before her love story with Robert and her lust with Lycée Arobin, both betraying the other. During the time this was written, the controversiality possessed in this novel was necessary to create an impact on the standards of marriage during this time.

The novel written by Kate Chopin (1899) reminded me of Pygmalion (1912), because of the like protagonists and the concept of middle class morality. Both Mrs. Pontellier (Edna) and Ms. Doolittle (Eliza) are constricted by the society which they live in. Eliza Doolittle coming from the lower class requests language lessons, and eventually over succeeds these language lessons becoming that of royalty in the way she speaks. “You think I like you to say that. But I haven’t forgot what you said a minute ago; and I won’t be coaxed round as if I was a baby or a puppy. If I can’t have kindness, I’ll have independence” (Shaw p. 70). These words spoken from Eliza Doolittle when Higgins tells her she can marry a prince really rung a bell for me, because this is exactly the predicament that Edna ended up in. She married a rich man which she lacks any form of love for. Eliza and Edna are two sides of the same coin, except Edna is married and Eliza is free of marriage.

All in all, I enjoyed analyzing the novel: The Awakening, but the pacing was slow and the descriptions were tedious. The novel has also lost some amount of relevance because of the feminist movements that are currently happening and the rate of divorces spiking. That said, there is still situations like this still happening.

“The Awakening”: a woman breaking out of the sexist norms that society has set for her

After finishing “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, the reader is left with a lot to think about. For me I was stuck on the idea of whether Edna was a good mother. She would neglect her children and family, but never to the point that she was an absent mother, but then again the book ended with Edna drowning herself, leaving her children motherless. However in my interpretation Chopin wasn’t trying to illustrate a bad mother who was also generally turned into a bad woman because she didn’t want to fit into her societal normal anymore. For me Chopin was trying to show the mental struggle and power a woman needs to get out of her societal norm of the “American Dream” or the idea that a wife is solely responsible for taking care of home and children.

This version of how Edna is depicted I think was made popular by the feminists that discovered Chopin’s work and brought light to it. This story in particular as I interpret it shows a woman breaking out of the sexist norms that society has set for her, and that being a difficult tasks fails under the stress of it all. To conclude I think that “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin was possibly something of a real life story she has witnessed because women of her time couldn’t break these sexist norms. Looking back on this story however we can get an idea of the struggles women silently had because of societies sexist rules and norms.

The Awakening PR

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.



Personal Response to The Awakening (Kate Chopin)

I’m not quite sure what to think about this one. Kate Chopin’s novel, entitled The Awakening, is generally considered her magnum opus, as well as what incited the end of her writing career as a result of it’s “scandalous” message.  Naturally, it should be fun to examine.

The thing that struck me with the most force and frequency was the writing style and structure. There’s a lot of description in this story, and as a result reading it can often feel like a chore. As a direct result of this, The Awakening is extremely slow paced. In addition, the story’s narrative structure is a little bit odd. The best adjective I can use to describe it is “meandering.” In the moment, very few events have a lasting impact on future events; the characters just jump from one location to the next, dialogue is said, people and things are described, Edna (the protagonist) reacts, moving on. Combined with the lack of rising action, falling action, or any real climactic event, the reading experience in general feels rather flat. The way I say this makes it sound like a detriment, but while it may have negatively affected my enjoyment of the story, it definitely serves a purpose. The Awakening is a story-driven character study, and choses to express its ideas through a slice of life format. Chopin is, through these largely disconnected events, showing us Edna’s gradual journey towards self-actualization. Each event doesn’t necessarily contribute to the story, but together, they create a well-developed character arc for the protagonist.

In class discussions, the topic of Edna’s morality was frequently brought up. These were discussions that I didn’t often participate in, as my own thoughts on this topic were not really fully formed, and as of right now, they still aren’t. My current interpretation is that Edna is written as a flawed, fallible character, with goals and desires that conflict with the world around her, rather than an objectively “bad” or “good” person. Weather this was an active decision on the author’s part, I’m not sure, but it certainly helps Edna feel like a real person, with real thoughts and emotions. The parts of the story in the middle and end when Edna began exercising her agency were easily the most enjoyable scenes in the entire book for that very reason.