Customer Reviews for

The Awakening

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

AWESOME

A fascinating glimpse into a world that is past -- a world that was on the brink of change. Even if this were not a gripping story in its own right (which, by all means, it is), "The Awakening" would be worth reading simply for this social-historical vision.
This editi...
A fascinating glimpse into a world that is past -- a world that was on the brink of change. Even if this were not a gripping story in its own right (which, by all means, it is), "The Awakening" would be worth reading simply for this social-historical vision.
This edition of The Awakening is a beautifully compiled work. I found it incredibly insightful as I used it for research papers in high school and college. The essays and criticism from Chopin's era are priceless. It was so helpful to have those along with the text, they really gave insight one could not find elsewhere. The Awakening continues to be my favorite book, this my favorite edition. If you are going to write a paper on this book or Chopin there is no other book that will help you more. This was a shocking novel in 1899 but today Pontellier's turmoil and dilemma would be neither unusual nor frightening and perhaps that is why modern man and woman usually succeed in handling these situations in a far better way than Pontellier.

posted by LVB4H8T on October 7, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Not worth your time

I had to read this book for school. I usually like to read but this book was so bad I could barely stand it.

posted by Anonymous on December 29, 2004

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  • Posted October 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    AWESOME

    A fascinating glimpse into a world that is past -- a world that was on the brink of change. Even if this were not a gripping story in its own right (which, by all means, it is), "The Awakening" would be worth reading simply for this social-historical vision.
    This edition of The Awakening is a beautifully compiled work. I found it incredibly insightful as I used it for research papers in high school and college. The essays and criticism from Chopin's era are priceless. It was so helpful to have those along with the text, they really gave insight one could not find elsewhere. The Awakening continues to be my favorite book, this my favorite edition. If you are going to write a paper on this book or Chopin there is no other book that will help you more. This was a shocking novel in 1899 but today Pontellier's turmoil and dilemma would be neither unusual nor frightening and perhaps that is why modern man and woman usually succeed in handling these situations in a far better way than Pontellier.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2004

    Not worth your time

    I had to read this book for school. I usually like to read but this book was so bad I could barely stand it.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Boring

    This book is very slow and boring .

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2004

    an awful book

    i read a lot and i love to read but i had to read this book for mah AP english class and i literally had to force myself to read it. it is such a slow moving boring book.i wouldnt recommend it to anyone, in fact i recommend that you dont read it and spare yourself the pain.

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2005

    Good Turn of the Century Novel, but a Slow Read

    The book is about a woman trying to find herself while bound by the constraints of society. Throughout the book she falls asleep and reawakens to realize something new about herself. I believe that the story of the book is very strong, but where it lacks is in the writing itself. I found the writing to be drawn out, and too wordy. Chopin was a turn of the century writer, and many of these writers used such a style. I believe Chopins other works such as her short story Deseree's Baby, were a little more exciting and were a bit easier to read because they were in short story form. The story of The Awakening could make a very good short story, but the novel form drags the story too much.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2007

    A book showcasing the peril inherent in one's pursuit of self-reinvention

    A broad-brush, sociological analysis of the book reveals that it¿s a story that features an `individual-versus-society¿ theme, raising the usual thought-provoking questions: Can individuals flaunt with impunity the unwritten laws of society? Can they break out of the mold in which society has cast them? Or do they, for all their valiant efforts, end up affirming the truth of the Japanese proverb: `The nail that sticks out will be hammered down¿? Here, you have Edna Pontellier, a married Creole woman of the late 19th century who, by a confluence of circumstances, realizes that she¿s been straitjacketed by conventions all her life and thereafter resolves ¿ without much thought of the consequences ¿ to free herself from the chokehold of a bland existence and give full form and substance to her intellectual, artistic, emotional, and sexual proclivities. She thus takes a series of bold, reckless steps in this direction, and not even the sweet joys of parenthood or the discreet interventions of friends like Adele Ratignolle and Dr. Mandelet can hold her back. Indeed, she finds herself incurably captivated by the prospect of attaining full independence (and by implication, gaining unqualified affirmation of her individuality) she¿s drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Not surprisingly, however, her precipitate transformation heightens her sense of isolation even as it gives her a sense of empowerment. The more she becomes more of herself, the more her sense of attachment to others unravels. Unfortunately for her, the trade-off between independence and isolation takes on the character of a Faustian bargain, and consequently, her situation becomes increasingly unbearable. Things come to a head when Robert Lebrun, for whom she has felt the stirrings of passion, eventually, reluctantly, reveals his affection for her but proves unable ¿ or unwilling? ¿ to act on it. Unlike her, he is still pretty much a product of the society in which he has been bred. He can¿t ¿ or won¿t? ¿ bring himself to defy communal expectations by having an illicit affair with her no matter how much he loves her, no matter how much she wants it. And this turn of events proves to be the proverbial last straw, predisposing her to kill herself. In view of the ending, how then should one interpret the story? Is this a resounding triumph of society over a defiant individual? Or is this a tragic yet heroic struggle of a defiant individual? It¿s all a matter of perspective, I reckon. Those who regard Edna Pontellier¿s transformation as a mutation will say it¿s about the dire, social consequence of individual maladjustment, of an individual¿s misguided desire to defy social conventions in pursuit of self-reinvention. On the other hand, those who regard it as a metamorphosis (yours truly included) will say it¿s about the provocative assertion of individuality in the face of overwhelming social constraints it¿s about an individual who has tired of playing by the stipulated rules of the game, as it were, and dares to quit for good ¿ and does so to good effect.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2000

    What a sad demoralizing book

    I found the book sad. The message of this book seems to be if you find that your life as taken you someplace you don't like - just give up. Not the message I want my daughters to get.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Recommended

    As a feminist I find it more than a little depressing that this book was so influential within the movement. Though I can sympathize with the protagonist's plight, I cannot sympathize with her. She's not terribly nice, and it's not clear that it's her circumstances that make her that way; she just seems like an incorrigible person (I could explain this further, but I'd have to give away the ending, and I don't think that's not allowed). It's no wonder she's so unhappy.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    Kate Chopin's The Awakening was published on April 22, 1899 by Herbert S. Stone & Company in Chicago. Chopin wrote the feminist novel in the time period when husbands had expectations that the wife must accomplish. Caring for the kids and keeping the house intact were just a few expectations among others. Chopin writes from the perspective of a trapped woman who frees herself from the ropes her husband has tied. With much detail, Chopin describes every step taken by the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, as she advances and quickly becomes the woman she has dreamt to be. Her transition from obedient wife to independent soul takes Mrs. Pontellier through an unforgettable journey. The adventure, which Mrs. Pontellier embarks on, introduces her to liberation and independence.
    The Awakening would best fit readers who are willing to dig deeper into the novel. Readers should be willing to extract her action in order to completely understand her reasons. I would recommend this novel to high school students with moderate experience in challenging books. The pacing in this difficult novel is slow. The author wrote this story in a short time frame in order to give specific detail on her experiences with liberty. The protagonist developed her character early in the novel. As the novel began, readers could see signs of a woman taking the first steps of rebellion. Towards the end, it was evident that Mrs. Pontellier had completely transformed from a trapped soul to soaring dove, living her life to the fullest. She threw a party at her house while her husband was away to show her independence as a new woman.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2001

    This Is BORING

    The book was to Descriptive in the first place. There Was barly anything that happened. IT's a whold describing book.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Rachel E: If I were to rate this book on a scale of 1 to 10, I w

    Rachel E: If I were to rate this book on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a 5, because it is the definition of mediocre.  I did not hate the book or find it too boring to read, but at no point did I find myself wishing to read more.  I felt that Mrs. Pontellier's suicide made for a perfect ending.  After discovering who she really was and rebelling against society, she could no longer handle the struggle.  I was originally sympathetic towards Mrs. Pontellier and tried imagining how difficult it must have been to belong to your husband and be treated as property.  However, Mrs. Pontellier admits she would not sacrifice herself for her own children, which caused me to view her as a selfish, unfit mother.  Although, Mr. Pontellier believes he owns his wife, I still felt he was a loving husband.  He behaves the way society has bred him too, at the same time still trying to respect his wife's wishes and avoiding upsetting her.  I did not particularly care for the excessive descriptions of the scenery or objects such as the women's evening gowns.  The title The Awakening, fits perfectly for Mrs. Pontellier realizes who she actually is and wakes up to the idea that she is an outsider to society.  Overall, I feel the book was well written and creative, but did not effectively hold the interest of the reader.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2013

    The Awakening by Kate Chopin It was during 1899 that this book w

    The Awakening by Kate Chopin
    It was during 1899 that this book was published. Its key character was a lady, Edna, who had many sexual desires and ended up basically condemning herself. She goes through many things in life that woman would never wish to have happen to them. She basically lived for the sake of others but eventually found inner strength through self-image. During the time this book was written, woman were not exactly favored in society. Woman had barely any rights, and were normally left by their husbands for other woman. The major theme in this book is to have happiness. She let peer pressure get to her and that ended up keeping her from being free and happy. She spent her time searching for a life that was not exactly right for her, and her living in a creole society was no good match for her trying to improve her life. Self image was a key to this book as well. If it weren’t for how well she thought of herself and sold herself to men, her life would have been a lot different. What I liked about this book was the amount of description the book gave about characters, settings, and the plot. It gave very vivid descriptions as if I were in her shoes. What I did not like about the book was that it did not give a clear ending. Yes, it did give an ending to her and what happened to her, but it never gave reasons for what and why she did what she did at the end. I feel the author could have added more of an ending of all the characters or might have even ended the book in a different way. This book has a tendency to get kind of boring, but events happen and it becomes interesting again. Someone should read this book because it teaches many life lessons that you might not otherwise get from just living in our own bubbles. It gives real life examples of how choices woman make can lead to problems that can impact our entire lives without even realizing it until it is too late. Other recommended works are: At Fault by Kate Chopin is about a lady who is widowed at 32 and how she is left to basically start life over at her plantation in Louisiana and all the obstacles she faces. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Banned Book Worth Reading

    I read The Awakening to celebrate Banned Books Week 2010, after I found it on a list of frequently challenged books. It's a wonderful book, but only if you are prepared to appreciate it for what it is: an early feminist novel and a classic. Don't pick this book up if you're looking for a love story! The Awakening is about a Victorian woman who realizes how trapped she is, and not really about sex or love, though that is what makes her realize it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2010

    Only if necessary

    I wouldn't have read this book without needing to for my class, but I wasn't completely disappointed. As a book that is influential in the women's movement of the early 1900s, it's not the worst. I really like the short stories by Kate Chopin, but the novel just doesn't seem to go anywhere. The awakening that the main character goes through is not as entertaining as it could have been. Also, it was very controversial during the time that it was written because of the affair that the main character has, but for today's standards it's not as shocking and therefore not as interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Thank God it was short!

    Dated and very stiff in its writing style. A bore to read although the restlessness of the main character resonated with me.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Awakens the Mind

    While the book can be a tad slow on some of the parts, the book is still great to read on how some women in the 19th century would feel about their lives. And you can be sure of the authenticity since Kate Chopin was one herself. Edna was a good character through her desperation of wanting to be free but feeling stuck in the world of what women should do The book was definitely a good read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2008

    A reviewer

    I read this book in class and I have to say more than anything I didn't like Edna Pontellier. Normally, with a good book I can overlook the fact that the main character isn't that great, but this was not a great book. For the most part nothing happened. When something did happen, you couldn't even tell 'when you read the book, you will know what I mean *wink*wink*'. Edna was being overly dramatic about a situation that was entirely her own fault. The ending was ridiculous and I felt no sympathy. I didn't feel emotionally attached to anybody. This book was no good.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2007

    Horrible Book

    The Awakening was a book that was a slow read and was hard to follow. A woman named Edna is married the man named Leonce and begins to realize how limited her freedom is. In the book, Leonce often goes on long business trips and Edna is left alone. When Leonce sends Edna some bonbons while he is on his business trip, Edna¿s friends tell her how wonderful that he is and she unwillingly because of the fear she has of correcting them. This is the first time that we see that she is unhappy in her marriage and it becomes a recurring issue as the book goes on. Throughout the book, Edna talks to her friend Adels about this situation. Edna Edna and Adele begin somewhat the same, but as the book goes on, Edna becomes more independent and Adele tries to stop her from thriving. Adele tries to protect Edna¿s image and reputation and is the static character of the book. During Leonce¿s business trip, Edna becomes more and more involved with a man named Robert. Eventually she cannot take her mind off of him and she cannot go a day without thinking about him. When a woman named Mademoiselle Reisz reminds Robert that it will ruin his reputation if he hooks up with a married woman, he moves to Mexico. During this time, she flirted and had relations with another man named Alcee. When she ¿messed around¿ with him, she felt not like she betrayed her husband but that she betrayed her husband but that she betrayed Robert. She is very indecisive about which man she wants and always claims that Robert is the perfect man for her. The only problem is she cheats on him as often as possible. A romance is usually a book where people find out who they love, but she really never make up her mind. It seemed like each chapter got more and more boring because all she did was talk about how she wanted Robert and then she would cheat on him with Alcee. She did not even take into consideration of what her husband would think she pretty much just left him. She doesn¿t even talk to her husband after she leaves. It seems like he just disappears. All in all, this book was basically about a woman who didn¿t want her husband anymore, and it was very boring. This ending was also quite disappointing. If you like exciting romance novels, this is not the book for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    Although Chopin's story offers a unique perspective into a world

    Although Chopin's story offers a unique perspective into a world too far gone from our own, nothing can save this book from its everlasting lull and its lack of understandable circumstances.  The passing of time has proven that the story of The Awakening is certainly not timeless. For myself, the main character seemed to have more inconsequential behaviors than what might have been accepted at Chopin's time. The few strengths of the book are the fact that there is a plot and that there are descriptive words to follow along. Aside from that, nothing caught much of my interest and few elements seemed entirely important to the progression of the characters.  Although it is a completely subjective matter as to if the plot elements and progression have any resounding effect on the reader, I urge any future readers to contemplate delving into this bland and drawn out soap opera.  
    -Jake L.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    The Awakening by Kate Chopin was an assigned reading book for my

    The Awakening by Kate Chopin was an assigned reading book for my AP English class. Now that I have completed reading it, I find myself hopelessly indifferent on the novel: the plot, the characters, and the themes. While I did sympathize with Edna, I had trouble fully grasping the "awakening" she underwent. All in all, the story depicts a rather charmed life with a main character who has difficultly adjusting to being her husband's property. This story was neither thrilling nor poetic, and as the novel went by, I hoped for a deeper, clearer plot. To me, it all seemed like a "beginning" and there appeared to be no climax until the last three pages or so. That aspect in itself made the read a bit more of a struggle.
    On the more positive side, the characterization throughout the novel was vivid and rich words were used throughout, creating an active and growing vision of life during the 1890s in New Orleans. I believe that this book is a must read, not because I thoroughly enjoyed it, but because the book is very open to interpretation. I found myself drawn to certain characters and events that resonated with my own life, but I am sure others will find different aspects to mine. This classic piece of literature was not my style, however I have gained a great deal of knowledge and perspective through the reading process.
    -Kylie S

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