Kate Chopin

The Awakening

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Summary
The Awakening by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and on the Louisiana Gulf coast at the end of the 19th century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle between her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earlier American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating a mixed reaction from contemporary readers and critics. Summary The novel opens with the Pontellier family-Léonce, a New Orleans businessman of Louisiana Creole heritage; his wife Edna; and their sons Etienne and Raoul as they take a vacation on Grand Isle at a resort on the Gulf of Mexico managed by Madame Lebrun and her sons Robert and Victor. Edna spends most of her time with her close friend Adèle Ratignolle, who cheerily and boisterously reminds Edna of her duties as a wife and mother. At Grand Isle, Edna eventually forms a connection with Robert Lebrun, a charming, earnest young man who actively seeks Edna's attention and affections. When they fall in love, Robert senses the doomed nature of such a relationship and flees to Mexico under the guise of pursuing a nameless business venture. The narrative focus moves to Edna's shifting emotions as she reconciles her maternal duties with her desire for social freedom and for Robert. When summer vacation ends, the Pontelliers return to New Orleans. Edna gradually reassesses her priorities and takes an active role in her own happiness. She starts to isolate herself from New Orleans society and to withdraw from some of the duties traditionally associated with motherhood. Léonce eventually talks to a doctor about diagnosing his wife, fearing she is losing her mental faculties. The doctor advises Léonce to let her be and assures him that things will return to normal. When Léonce prepares to travel to New York City on business, he sends the boys to his mother. Being left home alone for an extended period gives Edna physical and emotional room to breathe and reflect on various aspects of her life. While her husband is still away, she moves out of their home and into a small bungalow nearby and begins a dalliance with Alcée Arobin, a persistent suitor with a reputation for being free with his affections. Edna is shown as a sexual being for the first time in the novel, but the affair proves awkward and emotionally fraught.
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Release date
05.05.2023
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Abridged
Unabridged
Runtime
4 hours 35 minutes
Explicit
No

Abridged
Unabridged
Runtime
4 hours 35 minutes
Explicit
No
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