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the awakening kate chopin

Book Title: The Awakening / A Solitary Soul
Published:   1899
Author:      Kate Chopin
Language:    English
Book File Type: PDF
Movie:        No

The Awakening is a set in the late 1800’s in the Grand Isle. Edna Pontellier, her husband Léonce and their two sons, are on vacation at Madame Leliun, with wealthy Creoles from the French Quarter. Edna is married to a man whose dedication to his work is admirable; however his frequent absence has pushed them apart even though he has a good, kind and loving heart.

Most of Edna’s time is spent with her married Creole friend Adèle Ratignolle, who exemplifies feminine sophistication and charisma. Edna learns a great deal from her relationship with Adèle and wishes to experience a life of free expression. Being a narrow-minded person, Edna begins to yearn for more out of life. Her curiosity allowed for her to feel a sense of freedom and openness, yet it made her vulnerable and open.

This “awakening” and self-discovering made Edna’s heart grow fonder for Robert Leliun, the elder, son of Madame Leliun. Edna met him through her relationship with Adèle. The relationship started innocent but began to develop more than any of them anticipated. Everyday Edna was losing interest for her old life, everything in her desired a new life with him. Edna started to come alive again and began to paint and live her passions out. Robert was known to have different women every summer, and she was quickly becoming a person of interest. She enjoyed the moments they shared talking and swimming together. Robert decided to pull back when he realized that she was falling hard for him and wanted to commit adultery and eventually leave her husband and children for him.

Edna returns home and is increasingly agitated with her present life and still fantasizes about a new life with Robert. Nothing could ease her heart’s desire to be with him, she felt on one hand stuck in a hopeless marriage and also being pushed away by the man with whom she fell in love. Léonce took note of his wife behavior and spoke to a wise and enlightened man, Doctor Mandelet, the family physician. The Dr. suspected that an affair was the cause for Edna’s sudden change in behavior but advised Léonce to let Edna’s defiance run its course. When her husband was away, and the children were off, she moved into her place and felt 100% independent. She continued to paint but inwardly, was in turmoil.

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Eventually, Edna returns to Grand Isle, the place of her first moments of emotional, sexual, and intellectual awareness. Edna swims through the soft, emliacing water, thinking about her freedom from her husband and children, as well as Robert’s failure to understand her and Doctor Mandelet’s words of wisdom, and Mademoiselle Reisz’s courage. Enda gives herself to the sea in her final escape from it all.

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The Awakening

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