Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Synopsis: This story of a woman's struggle with oppressive social structures received much public contempt at its first release; put aside because of initial controversy, the novel gained popularity in the 1960s, some six decades after its first publication, and has since remained a favorite of many readers. Chopin's depiction of a married woman, bound to her family and with no way to assert a fulfilling life of her own, has become a foundation for feminism and a classic account of gender crises in the late Victorian era.


Review: I read this book for my American Realism and Naturalism class, and this book alone makes me glad I took the class. The text gave the class many great discussions, and I feel that this is a book that you will get the most out of if you have someone to discuss it with. 

The plot, at first glance, may not seem entirely engaging, but the beautiful prose and underlying message add a great amount of enjoyment. As a Victorian woman stuck in a marriage and life she is not happy with, Edna begins to make her own choices regardless of how others may feel about them. The reasoning behind this leads to a great amount of discussion about feminism. Throughout the book, I made numerous notes on specific quotes and entire sections that help prove the point that women are human, and are neither possessions nor something to be controlled. 

I felt that I could relate to Edna, even though I am not a Victorian woman stuck in a loveless marriage. Her feelings are genuine, and they are worded in such a way that gets the reader to think about what these feelings mean, for Edna and women in general. If you have a simple grasp on feminism and what it stands for, you will easily be able to pick out the parts in the book that are a beautiful addition to feminist literature. 

Overall, I greatly enjoyed all of this book. It was never dull or unpleasant to read. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially those interested in feminist literature.