The Shocking Ideas of Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1864 Words Jun 21st, 2018 8 Pages
The Shocking Ideas of The Awakening

Ideas that resist existing social boundaries commonly are rejected at first, because people don’t want to wake up from their reliable lives. Kate Chopin, however, believed that an awakening was in order, and she attempted to open the eyes of society through her novel The Awakening. The public’s reaction to Chopin’s novel was not one of acceptance. "Too strong a drink for moral babies, and should be labeled ‘poison,’" was the how the Republic described Chopin's work (Seyersted 174). This is how society viewed a novel that is intended to give people insight into the minds and feelings of women as human beings. Of course, over the years, society grew to not only accept Chopin’s ideas, but to embrace
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Chopin translated eight of his works and through him developed her style of writing. She shared his concept of a hero :

"An isolated world-weary and misanthropic hero who revels in his own sensuality; who trusts in nature and distrusts human relationships, especially love; who experiences a sense of liberation through solitary walks and confidences in his writing... and who is strongly drawn to death as a solution to the repetitive meaninglessness of life's pleasures. (Taylor 160)

This was the basic outline for the plot of The Awakening. The book starts with Edna, a New Orleans high society wife and mother who was miserable with her life. While spending the summer in Grand Isle, Edna meets Mademoiselle Reiz whose music is the only thing in which Edna finds happiness. Through the music Edna awakens to the fact that she has the right to be happy. Finding Edna's behavior unusual, her husband Mr. Pontellier takes the advice of a friend and leaves on a long business trip, giving Edna her space. On the isle she also meets Robert Lebrun who awakens her to a passion Mr. Pontellier could never give her. During the summer they fall deeply in love but Robert is scared of being condemned by society and flees to Mexico.(Bloom 11). After Robert leaves, Edna meets Alcee Arobin. Hopeful that Alcee will be like Robert, she takes him into her home. Once there Alcee becomes as controlling as Mr. Pontellier.

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