The Awakening is a book written by Kate Chopin in 1899. It is the earliest American book that focuses on the issues of women without any condescension. The novel based on the landmark work of feminism and generate a mixed reaction from contemporary critics and readers.
The book blends the realistic narrative and psychological and social commentary makes the novel precursor and prefigures work of the American novelists like Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. The book learns to think as autonomous human and the rebels against the social norms by leaving her husband and have an affair.
The start of the novel also takes place in the Grand Isle and Island of Louisianan. Children and women stayed on the island and men returned back to the city for work.
Edna Pontellier, in summers, meets the young gallant who named the Robert Lebrun. Mother also rents cottages on the island and two of them spend together and also enjoy the company since her husband preoccupied with the business.
Edna early starts for experiences the change with herself and beings for developing the sense as a whole person that wants, desires, and interests. She also realizes that it contains to wife and mother and she started to assert herself to her husband.
Her moments of discovery tied to the ocean. The moment of great awakening learns to swim after frustrated in efforts. Robert and she spend a lot of the time near ocean. He also takes a spontaneous day trip to the island in the boat. Edna also goes to the metaphorical rebirth that falls asleep for the hours on the island.
Robert realizes that he and Edna became close and depart the island and he goes to Vera Cruz for some business. In summer, Edna and Madame rationale pregnant who is the epitome of the maternity lived with the unmarried old woman that makes Edna weep through playing the piano. The business makes it to return back the money and to purchase the extravagant possessions to home on Esplanade Street.
Edna also settles in the usual routine and receive the callers and accompanying the husband for playing the musical events on nights. She also stops talking to callers and displeasure the husband and she starts to take up the painting and to behave in front of the husband that considers the uncharacteristic manner according to her husband.
Wanting An Independent Life:
The old family doctor advises leaving his wife as he suspects that his wife maybe falls in love with some other man. Edna only thinks about herself and not for society or her husband. Colonel also comes to see Edna. Edna is not much close to father and she finds devotes ad entertaining her energies.
After the visit of Colonel, Leonce and children leave her. Leonce extended his own business to New York and children stayed with grandmother in New York. Edna enjoyed her freedom with Arobin and she wins money in gambling. She was happing in her life and decided to move out on Esplanade Street.
As she wins gambling money and adds painting sales money which was enough for her to move to the smaller house. She wants an independent life without any claim from her husband. When she hears Robert coming to New Orleans she admits that she loves him. Edna throws a party for friends and celebrates her birthday with them before moving to the other house.
Her guests have a fun time. She enjoys being free from social constraints. Edna continues an affair with her love Arobin, but she doesn’t feel a real attachment with Arobin. She attends the meeting at Mademoiselle Reisz’s place with Robert and the meeting is awkward and strained.
Robert shows distance with Edna and Edna unsure whether he loves her or not. They also meet after that in the suburban garden. The tension among them sustained until her love Robert visits pigeon house, which named by Edna because of a small area.
Realizing Free And Sad:
Edna went to Madame Ratignolle, who is in pain and she warns Edna that she should consider her own children. After this Edna feels depressed in front of Madame and she decided to re-join Robert but she finds him gone forever.
Robert admits his love for Edna but he can’t be with a married woman and he realized her to be with her husband as she belongs to him. Edna argued to be the property of her husband. When Edna comes back, Robert went by placing a note for her. She doesn’t sleep the whole night and stays awake as thinking of her children and all relationships she had in her life.
She realized that she only wants Robert in her life and also realized that he would come when his thought for Edna melt out of Edna’s existence to leave her alone. She realized so many things at that time and she feels free but sad as she realized how much she loves Robert instead of her husband and her children.
She never thinks about her family, the only thinks she cares about is Robert who left her alone in the pigeon-house. At the end of the story, Edna returns to the Grand Isle and greets Robert’s brother. She goes to the beach and finds not to led another including her family, her children and she swims away shore.
The novel described the case study of feminism and its theme is self-ownership. The central theme of the novel is self-ownership. It also signified the right of a woman to have control over her identity and body. The story of Edna is laden with symbolism.
In this novel, Chopin built sea as the freedom space away and outside the society. According to Edna, the sea serves as the empowerment source and place of the refuge. Edna realized her freedom and independence in the story which is close to reality as a woman thinks about herself instead of her family and wants to live independently and free from the responsibilities of family.
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