The Awakening and Selected Stories (Google eBook)
The Awakening shocked turn-of-the-century readers and reviewers with its treatment of sex and suicide. In a departure from literary convention, Kate Chopin failed to condemn her heroine's desire for an affair with the son of a Louisiana resort owner, whom she meets on vacation. The power of sensuality, the delusion of ecstatic love, and the solitude that accompanies the trappings of middle- and upper-class convention are themes of this now-classic novel.
The book was influenced by French writers ranging from Flaubert to Maupassant, and can be seen as a precursor of the impressionistic, mood-driven novels of Virginia Woolf and Djuna Barnes. Variously called "vulgar," "unhealthily introspective," and "morbid," the book was neglected for several decades, not least because it was written by a "regional" woman writer.
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Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Text
A Life Fable
At the Cadian Ball
La Belle Zoraïde
At Chênière Caminada
The Story of an Hour
A Pair of Silk Stockings
Elizabeth Stocks One Story
The StormA Sequel to The Cadian Ball
Adrienne afternoon Alcée Arobin Aphrodite arms asked Athénaïse Awakening began Bobinôt Calixta Cazeau Chênière Caminada Chicot clatter Creole dinner door dream Edna Pontellier Edna’s exclaimed eyes face father feel felt fin de siècle gallery girl gone Gouvernail Grand Isle hair hand head heard Highcamp hour husband Jane Eyre Kate Chopin kissed knew lady laughed Léonce letter looked M’sieur Madame Lebrun Madame Ratignolle Mademoiselle Reisz Mamzelle Aglaé Mariequita marriage married Miché Monsieur Farival Monsieur Ratignolle Montéclin morning mother never night once Orleans peignoir Pierre Louÿs pirogue play Pontellier’s quadroon rigolet Robert seated seemed Sister Agathe sleep soft soul stay stood story street summer summer colony swim Sylvie talk tell things thought told Tonie turned Victor voice w’at waiting walked wife window woman women wonder young Zoraïde