Awakening: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 2

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Overview

This Second Edition of a perennial favorite in the Norton Critical Edition series represents an extensive revision of its predecessor.
The text is that of the first edition of the novel, published by Herbert S. Stone in 1899. It has been annotated by the editor and includes translations of French phrases and information about New Orleans locales, customs, and lore, the Bayou region, and Creole culture. "Bibliographical and Historical Contexts", expanded and introduced by a new Editor’s Note, presents biographical, historical, and cultural documents contemporary with the novel’s publication. Included are a biographical essay by the acclaimed Chopin biographer Emily Toth, "An Etiquette/Advice Book Sampler" with selections from the conduct books of the period in which Chopin lived and wrote, and period fashion plates from Harper’s Bazar. A comprehensive "Criticism" section, introduced by a new Editor’s Note, contains expanded selections from hard-to-find contemporary reviews of the novel; two letters of mysterious origin written in response to the novel; and Chopin’s "Retraction," which followed The Awakening’s negative reception. These are followed by twenty-seven interpretive essays, twelve of them new to the Second Edition, that provide a variety of perspectives on The Awakening, including essays by Cynthia Griffin Wolff, Nancy Walker, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Paula A. Treichler, Sandra M. Gilbert, Lee R. Edwards, Patricia S. Yaeger, Elizabeth Ammons, and Elaine Showalter. A Chronology of Chopin’s life and an updated Selected Bibliography are also included.

An American classic of sexual expression that paved the way for the modern novel, The Awakening is both a remarkable novel in its own right and a startling reminder of how far women in this century have come. The story of a married woman who pursues love outside a stuffy, middle-class marriage, the novel portrays the mind of a woman seeking fulfillment of her essential nature.

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Editorial Reviews

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. Toth wrote the biography Kate Chopin. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This gorgeous edition of Chopin's 1899 classic features period photos of the novel's New Orleans location and a durable plastic dust jacket.
From Barnes & Noble
Discontented with her comfortable but stagnant marriage, a New Orleans woman on vacation with her family meets several remarkable women and two desirable men who set her off on a different and difficult path: to live according to her own needs rather than in accordance with the rigid standards of society. First published in 1899, this book was rediscovered in the 1960s and pronounced a feminist classic for its open treatment of a woman's search for self-understanding. Includes an introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carol Shields, plus a sampling of early reviews, a biography of Chopin, and essays by modern scholars.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393960570
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1993
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 92,763
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Margo Culley is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is the editor of American Women’s Autobiography: Fea(s)ts of Memory and A Day at a Time: Diary Literature of American Women, and co-editor of Women’s Personal Narratives: Essays in Criticism and Pedagogy and Gendered Subjects: The Dynamics of Feminist Teaching. She teaches courses in American studies, women’s studies, and ethnic studies.

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Read an Excerpt

A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and Over:

"Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That's all right!"

He could speak a little Spanish, and also a language which nobody understood, unless it was the mocking bird that hung on the other side of the door, whistling his fluty notes out upon the breeze with maddening persistence.

Mr. Pontellier, unable to read his newspaper with any degree of comfort, arose with an expression and an exclamation of disgust. He walked down the gallery and across the narrow "bridges" which connected the Lebrun cottages one with the other. He had been seated before the door of the main house. The parrot and the mocking bird were the property of Madame Lebrun, and they had the fight to make all the noise they wished. Mr. Pontellier had the privilege of quitting their society when they ceased to be entertaining.

He stopped before the door of his own cottage, which was the fourth one from the main building and next to the last. Seating himself in a wicker rocker which was there, he once more applied him self to the task of reading the newspaper. The day was Sunday; the paper was a day old. The Sunday papers had not yet reached Grand Isle. He was already acquainted with the market reports, and he danced restlessly over the editorials and bits of news which he had not had time to read before quitting New Orleans the day before.

Mr. Pontellier wore eye glasses. He was a man of forty, of medium height and rather slender build; he stooped a little. His hair was brown and straight, parted on one side. His beard was neatly and closely trimmed.

Once in a while he withdrew his glance from the newspaper andlooked about him. There was more noise than ever over at the house. The main building was called "the house," to distinguish it from the cottages. The chattering and whistling birds were still at it. Two young girls, the Farival twins, were playing a duet from "Zampa" upon the piano. Madame Lebrun was bustling in and out, giving orders in a high key to a Yard boy when ever she got inside the house, and directions in an equally high voice to a dining room servant when ever she got outside. She was a fresh, pretty woman, clad always in white with elbow sleeves. Her starched skirts crinkled as she came and went. Farther down before one of the cottages, a lady in black was walking demurely up and -down, telling her beads. A good many persons of the pension had gone over to the Cheniere Caminada in Beaudelet's lugger to hear mass. Some young people were out under the water oaks playing croquet. Mr. Pontellier's two children were there--sturdy little fellows of four and five. A quadroon nurse followed them about with a far-away, meditative air.

Mr. Pontellier finally lit a cigar and began to smoke, letting the paper drag idly from his hand. He fixed his gaze upon a white sunshade that was advancing at snail's pace from the beach. He could see it plainly between the gaunt trunks of the water oaks and across the stretch of yellow camomile. The gulf looked far away, melting hazily into the blue of the horizon. The sunshade continued to approach slowly. Beneath its pink-lined shelter were his wife, Mrs. Pontellier, and young Robert Lebrun. When they reached the cottage, the two seated themselves with some appearance of fatigue upon the upper step of the porch, facing each other, each leaning against a supporting post.

"What folly! to bathe at such an hour in such heat!" exclaimed Mr. Pontellier. He himself had taken a plunge at daylight That was why the morning seemed long to him.

"You are burnt beyond recognition," he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage. She held up her hands, strong, shapely hands, and surveyed them critically, drawing up her lawn sleeves above the wrists. Looking at them reminded her of her rings, which she had given to her husband before leaving for the beach. She silently reached out to him, and he, under standing took the rings from his vest pocket and dropped them into her open palm. She slipped them upon her fingers; then clasping her knees, she looked across at Robert and began to laugh. The rings sparkled upon her fingers. He sent back an answering smile.

"What is it?" asked Pontellier, looking lazily and amused from one to the other. It was some utter nonsense; some adventure out there in the water, and they both tried to relate it at once. It did not seem half so amusing when told. They realized the, and so did Mr. Pontellier. He yawned and stretched himself. Then he got up, saying he had half a mind to go over to Klein's hotel and play a game of billiards.

Come go along, Lebrun," he proposed to Robert But Robert admitted quite frankly that he preferred to stay where he was and talk to Mrs. Pontellier.

"Well, send him about his business when he bores you, Edna," instructed her husband as he prepared to leave.

"Here, take the umbrella," she exclaimed, holding it out to him. He accepted the sunshade, and lifting it over his head descended the steps and walked away.

"Coming back to dinner" his wife called after him. He halted a moment and shrugged his shoulders. He felt in his vest pocket; there was a ten dollar bill there. He did not know, perhaps he would return for the early dinner and perhaps he would not It all depended upon the company which he found over at Klein's and the size of the game." He did not say this, but she understood it, and laughed, nodding good-by to him.

Both children wanted to follow their father when they saw him starting out. He kissed them and promised to bring them back bonbons and peanuts.

Copyright ) 1972 by Kate Chopin

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Table of Contents

Cambridge Literature 5
Introduction 6
The Awakening 9
A Point at Issue 162
A Shameful Affair 176
The Story of an Hour 183
At the 'Cadian Ball 186
La Belle Zoraide 197
Desiree's Baby 204
The Storm 211
Who has written these stories and why? 217
Kate Chopin's life and times 224
What types of text are these stories? 226
How were they produced? 232
How do these stories present their subjects? 237
Who reads these stories and how do they interpret them? 241
Glossary 248
Further Reading 255
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First Chapter

Chapter 1

A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over:

"Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That's all right!"

He could speak a little Spanish, and also a language which nobody understood, unless it was the mockingbird that hung on the other side of the door, whistling his fluty notes out upon the breeze with maddening persistence.

Mr. Pontellier, unable to read his newspaper with any degree of comfort, arose with an expression and an exclamation of disgust. He walked down the gallery and across the narrow "bridges" which connected the Lebrun cottages one with the other. He had been seated before the door of the main house. The parrot and the mockingbird were the property of Madame Lebrun, and they had the right to make all the noise they wished. Mr. Pontellier had the privilege of quitting their society when they ceased to be entertaining.

He stopped before the door of his own cottage, which was the fourth one from the main building and next to the last. Seating himself in a wicker rocker which was there, he once more applied himself to the task of reading the newspaper. The day was Sunday, the paper was a day old. The Sunday papers had not yet reached Grand Isle. He was already acquainted with the market reports, and he glanced restlessly over the editorials and bits of news which he had not had time to read before quitting New Orleans the day before.

Mr. Pontellier wore eye-glasses. He was a man of forty, of medium height and rather slender build; he stooped a little. His hair was brown and straight, parted on one side. His beard was neatly and closely trimmed.

Once in a while he withdrew his gorch, facing each other, each leaning against a supporting post.

"What folly! to bathe at such an hour in such heat!" exclaimed Mr. Pontellier. He himself had taken a plunge at daylight. That was why the morning seemed long to him.

"You are burnt beyond recognition," he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage. She held up her hands, strong, shapely hands, and surveyed them critically, drawing up her lawn' sleeves above the wrists. Looking at them reminded her of her rings, which she had given to her husband before leaving for the beach. She silently reached out to him, and he, understanding, took the rings from his vest pocket and dropped them into her open palm. She slipped them upon her fingers; then clasping her knees, she looked across at Robert and began to laugh. The rings sparkled upon her fingers. He sent back an answering smile.

"What is it?" asked Pontellier, looking lazily and amused from one to the other. It was some utter nonsense; some adventure out there in the water, and they both tried to relate it at once. It did not seem half so amusing when told. They realized this, and so did Mr. Pontellier. He yawned and stretched himself. Then he got up, saying he had half a mind to go over to Klein's hotel and play a game of billiards.

"Come go along, Lebrun," he proposed to Robert. But Robert admitted quite frankly that he preferred to stay where he was and talk to Mrs. Pontellier.

"Well, send him about his business when he bores you, Edna," instructed her husband as he prepared to leave.

"Here, take the umbrella," she exclaimed, holding it out to him. He accepted the sunshade, and lifting it over his head de scended the steps and walked away.

"Coming back to dinner?" his wife called after him. He halted a moment and shrugged his shoulders. He felt in his vest pocket; there was a ten-dollar bill there. He did not know; perhaps he would return for the early dinner and perhaps he would not. It all depended upon the company which he found over at Klein's and the size of "the game." He did not say this, but she understood it, and laughed, nodding good-by to him.

Both children wanted to follow their father when they saw him starting out. He kissed them and promised to bring them back bonbons and peanuts.

Copyright © 1998 by Simon & Schuster

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 148 )
Rating Distribution

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4 Star

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(26)

2 Star

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(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 146 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    Worst book ever!

    This book was a waste of my money. The book had too many languages in it. The story line made absolutely no sense. The book was very slow from beginning to end. Im gonna warn you right now.....this book will waste your time and money.

    10 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 22, 2011

    Awful in every aspect of the word.

    To anyone hoping for any sort of entertainment from this story, you will be sorely disappointed. The characters are bland and flat, the plot holds no substance and the main conflict delivers neither a good payoff nor a satisfying resolution. The book's main character is meant to give off an air of independence and strength. She is meant to represent changing times and the will of women everywhere. Instead she comes off as a whiney brat with not a care for anyone but herself. Not only does she neglect her husband, but also the children that she brought into thos world. She moans and groans about the lack of attention given to her, all while completely staying in the background, running about with other men. No character in this novel is likable, and the ones who you manage not to hate all end up being boringand underused. Do not read this book.

    9 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 3, 2012

    A

    Boringggg !!!!

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 3, 2011

    boring

    A little too much description for every movement & thought. Very slow & boring!

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 21, 2012

    White whine

    This book is annoyingly boring and provided insight into the dull minds of 17th century women.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 2, 2005

    Best short stories I have ever read

    I read Kate Chopin's The Awakening for a Lit course.I have read many books.Chopin's stories stay in my mind.I remember her characters as REAL people.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 19, 2012

    You don't have to like the characters to like the book

    It was difficult for me to like, sympathize or empathize with any of the main characters in this book. Nevertheless, this is an interesting character profile of a member of the "me generation" born 100 years too early, set deep within creole New Orleans society. An intellectually satisfying read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Intelligently written and soul provocing Ingtelligently written and soul stiring

    Written with provocative undertone, chopin would have a grateful appause in the 21st century

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 1, 2011

    great book

    I love this book! I have it in 3 different forms and this particular one has a few small glitches but nothing major! cant beat the price:0

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 11, 2011

    Awakening of the Mind

    "I would give up the unessential; I would give up my money, I would give up my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself." THE AWAKENING written by Kate Chopin portraits a world back in the late 1800s. A fascinating story of the life of a young woman, who is also a wife and a mother, shows challenges against the values of the world during that particular time period. Kate Chopin describes a world that she has been dreaming of, that she believes in women can say something rather than being controlled by men. The protagonist went against the important moral issue that was highly valued back in those days. The author applied adultery issues into the life of the main character to describe her journey towards freedom and independence. The story itself is a well-written piece, which made it easier for readers to take a quick glance into a world that has been nearly hundred years ago. Even though the novel is one of the most famous classic pieces, the clear usage of language and style of the author helped the readers in the process of understanding the conflicts. Kate Chopin, an explorer who challenged the idea of sexuality in American literature back in 1800s will guide readers to awaken their minds of ideas of individuality and liberty, which are concepts that we can observe in today's world thankful to the pioneer authors.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 30, 2010

    good book- lousy scan!

    This is one of the google scanned books- the story is good but THE SCAN IS AWFUL -SPEND A BUCK & GET A GOOD COPY or your going to get alot of googly fonts & what looks almost like wingding font

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 23, 2014

    Thought provoking read

    This was a book club selection at our office and it really caused a stir in the participants -- such a wide variety of thoughts about the book.

    I really enjoyed it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 8, 2013

    Slowest 100 page book but great ending

    The book was slow, i mean- really slow. It took longer to read those 100 or so pages than almost any book I've read but the climactic conclusion did improve my overall outlook on that wasted time spent dragging through this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 2, 2013

    A Classic worth reading

    Kate Chopin was featured in the St. Louis history museum in Forest Park (Free admission -- A wonderful city to visit!) so I decided to read one of her novels. A daring subject and approach for a female writer of her time. Typically existential for the period. A good book for understanding southern culture or women's issues in the 1800's. Suitable for reading for High School students.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2013

    Boring

    I tried very hard to read this book, but it was boring and I felt like maybe if I tried reading it another day I might have missed something.......not the case. It drones on and on with a plethora of characters who are also boring. I never read padt the fourth chapter because it was pointless drivel that went on and on about nothing and went nowhere. This author should have taken up another calling. Dont waste your time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 24, 2013

    An Interesting Look at Early Feminism

    I liked this book. All the characters are flawed, but good and sympathetic nonetheless. Though Edna is definitely not one of the nobler protagonists, the reader does sympathize with her plight to find her own identity in a world where she has been defined by her relation to others (mother, daughter, etc.). Not much happens in the book, but I found each character interesting enough to care about them to the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 21, 2013

    So funny!

    I really enjoyed this book. It made me laugh out loud (literally) several times!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 2, 2012

    I kinda liked it.

    I somewhat liked this book. I found it fairly easy to understand the plot line was easy to follow. I would have liked it better if the text was more up to date, though. The story is a bit cliche and the ending is very dramatic. There were parts that I didn't catch( Like i had no idea that Madame Ratignolle was even pregnant until i read the sparknotes). Overall, as far as my summer reading went, this was probably the best of the three.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 15, 2012

    Shitty ass book

    The end

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 27, 2012

    Great read

    Loved this book. Found some of the themes applicable to todays life.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 146 Customer Reviews

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