Book Review :: The Awakening

The AwakeningThe Awakening by Kate Chopin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first 19th century American literature that I've read. It's completely different from the ever famous Victorian era with hints of modernness in it. Perhaps, because it has to do with America.

The Awakening is the story of a woman, Edna, who wakes up from her struggles of life. Edna is married to Mr. Pontillier and has two kids. The story begins with the family's vacation at an island. There, Edna meets a young man, Robert, with whom she develops a strong companionship. Robert, fearing to fall in love with her flees to Mexico unceremoniously. From here begins Edna's 'awakening' to her reality. The story then takes us through the complexities she faces within herself and around her. She fights her social struggles, declares her love for Robert and indulges in infatuations. Not being able to subside his love for Edna, Robert returns only to complicate things more for her; setting a stage for a tragic end to a wonderful story.

There isn't any problem with the story. It is absolutely remarkable. Given the fact that it was written in the 19th century, it is quite ahead of its time dealing with woman issues as described in it. Countless women today, go through what Edna went in that time. They can relate to her character.
Edna had once told Madame Ratignolle that she
would never sacrifice herself for her children, or for any one.

"I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I
would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself."
The problem with the book lies with the style. Although it is naturalism and I appreciate it, there are many colloquial sentences for a 3rd person narration. The constant lack of articulate text makes one lose and gain interest at irregular intervals. However, the story keeps you glued counteracting all other negatives.

A wonderful story with strong characters. Set in the south of America, it will surely warm you up like the sun warms them there on the beaches.

Favourite quotes:
'Good bye-because I love you.'
-Robert to Edna

'And moreover, to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul. The brave soul. The soul that dares and defies.'
-Mademoiselle Reisz

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