Saturday, February 1, 2020

214. The Awakening

The Awakening
Kate Chopin
Around 200 pages

It's hard to believe that I am almost finished with the 1800s. Fair warning, I plan on waxing poetic about the 19th century a few books from now, when we finally tie a ribbon on it. For now, let's talk about one of the earliest works of feminist fiction!

Edna Pontellier is married to Leonce, and has two sons, Etienne and Raoul. She becomes attracted to a young man, who behaves as most young men do. Edna must deal with her heartbreak and the societal restrictions on her as a woman. I wonder how much I would have to pay my straight male friends to read something like this.

It's easy to see the heavy influence this had over later authors. I am in a heavy Virginia Woolf phase right now (read into that what you will) and I would be shocked if Woolf hadn't read this multiple times. It would be a bit more interesting if her angst didn't rely so much on heartbreak. Not that heartbreak isn't valid turmoil, but I think it would have been more powerful if the romantic subplot had been less significant.

But I am just being picky. This is a wonderfully written novel. The last scene has always stuck with me, and even some of the most enjoyable novels I have read haven't left such a deep impression. A must read.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Heavily censored upon its publication.

Kate Chopin never wrote another novel.

UP NEXT: The Stechlin by Theodor Fontane. Great, more from Buzz Killington.

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