The Awakening and Other Writings

The Awakening and Other Writings

by Kate Chopin

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The Awakening ignited controversy when it was published in 1899. Reviewers criticized the book for its tacit endorsement of adultery, its frank depiction of a woman's sexual frustration, and its rejection of conventional expectations for women's roles and behavior. The novel tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young Creole wife and mother whose adulterous

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The Awakening ignited controversy when it was published in 1899. Reviewers criticized the book for its tacit endorsement of adultery, its frank depiction of a woman's sexual frustration, and its rejection of conventional expectations for women's roles and behavior. The novel tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young Creole wife and mother whose adulterous relationship with another man leads to the "awakening" of her spirit. In the world in which she lives, her desire to be independent is considered a sign of mental illness or worse, and Edna struggles to reconcile her desires with her domestic role.
Chopin's best-known and most critically acclaimed work is presented here with a selection of her other fiction, as well as her poetry, journalism, and letters. An extensive selection of contemporary reviews and historical materials on women's rights, sexuality, etiquette, and Louisiana culture are also included.

Editorial Reviews

T.R. Johnson Tulane University
"This edition of Chopin's masterpiece contextualizes her work in a way that creates endless possibilities for teachers and students. From Chopin's other stories and personal writings to her poetry and non-fiction; from contemporary responses to her work in the popular press to the intellectual legacy she was drawing upon in her writing; from the etiquette guides of the era to accounts of its great hurricane to period sketches of New Orleans social history, all of this together combines to situate The Awakening in a kaleidoscopic set of intellectual and cultural frameworks. For the classroom, a treasure—I can’t imagine using any other edition."
Mary Ann Wilson University of Louisiana at Lafayette
"This is the most richly comprehensive and contextualized edition of Chopin's novel to date. The extensive introduction not only situates the novel in this era of the New Woman, but also clarifies problematic regional terms such as 'Creole.' This edition illuminates the local and national settings of Chopin's novel for a new generation of readers. Kudos to Broadview and these editors, who have provided a valuable service for scholars and students of southern and women's literature. I will definitely be using this text in my own classroom and for my own research."
Theresa Flowers University of North Texas
"The introduction sets the stage for using the text in either literature or women's studies classes by describing not only Kate Chopin's work but also the setting in America that existed during her lifetime. There are clear explanations of the issues of race and gender in Louisiana and the South in general. The notes are also excellent, adding another dimension to the text. I am eagerly anticipating introducing this edition to my students."
Kate Chopin is a pioneer in the treatment of sexuality in American literature… She does not speak only to women,but she speaks most powerfully about them.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Chopin's (1850-1904) The Awakening, whose heroine rejects her husband and children as she indulges in solitude and in an adulterous infatuation, was embraced by the women's movement 70 years after its publication. Although they pale in comparison to the novel, these stories, which comprise Chopin's third and last short-fiction collection, serve to flesh out the Chopin oeuvre and deserve a place on women's studies syllabi. As in The Awakening , the author's social critiques here demythologize women, marriage, religion and family. A women escapes ``the incessant chatter'' of other females at a party and retires to the male domain of the smoking room, where she puffs on hashish and dreams of a love affair torn asunder. The perverse Mrs. Mallard revels in her newfound freedom when informed that her husband is a casualty of a train accident and dies of a heart attack when he shows up alive. Her fiance is wasted by illness and reeks death, and a repulsed Dorothea bolts; elsewhere, a monk is lured by the voice of a woman, a former intimate. And in a twist on the plot of The Awakening , a husband, plagued by suspicions of his late wife's infidelity, casts himself in the river.

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Broadview Press
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5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

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Upon the pleasant veranda of Pere Antoine's cottage, that adjoined the church, a young girl had long been seated, awaiting his return. It was the eve of Easter Sunday, and since early afternoon the priest had been engaged in hearing the confessions of those who wished to make their Easters the following day. The girl did not seem impatient at his delay; on the contrary, it was very restful to her to lie back in the big chair she had found there, and peep through the thick curtain of vines at the people who occasionally passed along the village street.

She was slender, with a frailness that indicated lack of wholesome and plentiful nourishment. A pathetic, uneasy look was in her gray eyes, and even faintly stamped her features, which were fine and delicate. In lieu of a hat, a barege veil covered her light brown and abundant hair. She wore a coarse white cotton 'josie,' and a blue calico skirt that only half concealed her tattered shoes.

As she sat there, she held carefully in her lap a parcel of eggs securely fastened in a red bandana handkerchief.

Twice already a handsome, stalwart young man in quest of the priest had entered the yard, and penetrated to where she sat. At first they had exchanged the uncompromising 'howdy' of strangers, and nothing more. The second time, finding the priest still absent, he hesitated to go at once. Instead, he stood upon the step, and narrowing his brown eyes, gazed beyond the river, off towards the west, where a murky streak of mist was spreading across the sun.

'It look like mo' rain,' he remarked, slowly and carelessly.

'We done had 'bout 'nough,' she replied, in much the same tone.

'It's no chance tothin out the cotton,' he went on.

'An' the Bon-Dieu,' she resumed, 'it's on'y to-day you can cross him on foot.'

'You live yonda on the Bon-Dieu, donc?' he asked, looking at her for the first time since he had spoken.

'Yas, by Nid Hibout, monsieur.'

Instinctive courtesy held him from questioning her further. But he seated himself on the step, evidently determined to wait there for the priest. He said no more, but sat scanning critically the steps, the porch, and pillar beside him, from which he occasionally tore away little pieces of detached wood, where it was beginning to rot at its base.

A click at the side gate that communicated with the churchyard soon announced Pere Antoine's return. He came hurriedly across the garden-path, between the tall, lusty rosebushes that lined either side of it, which were now fragrant with blossoms. His long, flapping cassock added something of height to his undersized, middle-aged figure, as did the skullcap which rested securely back on his head. He saw only the young man at first, who rose at his approach.

'Well, Azenor,' he called cheerily in French, extending his hand. 'How is this? I expected you all the week.'

'Yes, monsieur; but I knew well what you wanted with me, and I was finishing the doors for Gros-Leon's new house' saying which, he drew back, and indicated by a motion and look that some one was present who had a prior claim upon Pere Antoine's attention.

'Ah, Lalie!' the priest exclaimed, when he had mounted to the porch, and saw her there behind the vines. 'Have you been waiting here since you confessed? Surely an hour ago!'

'Yes, monsieur.'

'You should rather have made some visits in the village, child.'

'I am not acquainted with any one in the village,' she returned.

The priest, as he spoke, had drawn a chair, and seated himself beside her, with his hands comfortably clasping his knees. He wanted to know how things were out on the bayou.

'And how is the grandmother?' he asked. 'As cross and crabbed as ever? And with that'—he added reflectively—'good for ten years yet! I said only yesterday to Butrand—you know Butrand, he works on Le Blot's Bon-Dieu place—'And that Madame Zidore: how is it with her, Butrand? I believe God has forgotten her here on earth.''It isn't that, your reverence,' said Butrand, 'but it's neither God nor the Devil that wants her!'' And Pere Antoine laughed with a jovial frankness that took all sting of ill-nature from his very pointed remarks.

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