Perhaps it is the book’s being published in 1899 that took away from its scandalous reputation, but it just did not reach this reader in any profound way.
The 28-year-old Edna Pontellier lives in New Orleans with her husband and two young children. During a vacation on the gulf, she becomes enamored with a young man and begins to question her life’s fulfillment. She has a nice home, healthy children, a generous, albeit, sometimes clueless, husband, servants (didn’t everyone?), etc., yet she feels frustrated. Perhaps she should have taken a step back before marrying or should take another one before plunging in…
The husband, Leonce, seemed, perhaps intentionally, a caricature of a man. He smoked cigars, enjoyed dining out at “the club”, went away on unexplained business, etc. There just wasn’t a lot of substance here although he does finally begin to see his wife changing before his eyes and attempts to understand it.
Friend to Edna, Adele Ratignolle is the perfect woman. She adores her husband and children and expects other women to follow suit. She does seem to have a strong advantage; she likes her husband, is in love with him and he appears to feel the same. Some more details for this character would have been welcome but were not forthcoming.
I suppose I’ve taken many things for granted as a woman and would need to bear that in mind before sitting down with Ms. (or should I say Miss ) Chopin? I’d hope to discuss her ability at being such a prolific writer without formal training. Perhaps we’d take a stroll in New Orleans where I’d ask her why Edna did not want to go to her sister’s wedding, where Robert went and why such a tragic end???
My rating for The Awakening is a 7 out of 10.
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