Summary of The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Robert, a younger man with immature tendencies, clean shaven face, yellowish-brown hair, and quick bright eyes maintains a reputation for floating in between different older women every summer. Eventually his affectionate nature catches the attention of Mrs.
Léonce’s mother ignores the obvious fault lines in the Pontellier marriage so she can have more time with her grandchildren. Throughout The Awakening, Chopin’s characters disappoint their sons and daughters. By hinting that Edna is not alone in her childishness, Chopin shows that her unlikable protagonist is not simply a villain. The novel frequently encourages us to condemn Edna, since many of the characters comment on her self-absorption and she herself displays this egoism in her conversations with Raoul and Etienne. However, by describing a network of similarly flawed mothers and fathers, Chopin suggests that Edna’s failings are universal. Indeed, the reason the novel unsettles so many readers may be that, in Chopin’s honest portrait of Edna Pontellier, we recognize our own features.
Gross in 1890. This novel discarded by many publishers and in the end she annihilated the manuscript. This was followed by a short story Desiree baby in 1896 a narrative trails a tale of Desiree who is ditched as a baby and is taken and brought up by a loving family. She gets married and they have a baby with a dark complexion. The husband sends her away claiming that she is of black ancestry only to realize that he is the one of black ancestry. This story was published in a short story collection the following year (Booth and Mays 236). Another collection with twenty one stories, a night in Acadia, was issued in 1897. It gave a picture of her enhanced curiosity of excitement and sexuality. This collection also expressed her disquiet for the predicament of women in the Victorian Era. Then came another short story collection, a vocation and a voice. This collection was discarded. Kate created many short poems and gave in essays to several periodicals in St. Louis. Then she came up with another short story ‘The storm’ which traced the story of two lover’s unfaithfulness during a rainstorm and depicted her curiosity in infatuation and infidelity. This was followed by her masterwork, her novel ‘The awakening’. This narration follows the story of Edna Pontellier and her great effort to conquer her increasing unusual views on feminity and motherliness with the existing social attitudes of that century.
That said, the exploration that Chopin credits to Edna is a brave leap away from the Victorian culture of the time.
Booth, Alison and Mays, Kelly. The Norton Introduction to Literature. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010