THE AWAKENING & OTHER CLASSIC SHORT STORIES (Complete Works of Kate Chopin, Vol, 1) Includes The Awakening, Beyond the Bayou, Desiree's Baby, Ma'ame Pelagie, A Respectable Woman, The Kiss, The Locket, A Pair of Silk Stockings and More by Kate Chopin NOOK [NOOK Book]
THE AWAKENING & OTHER CLASSIC SHORT STORIES
(Complete Works of Kate Chopin, Vol, 1)
Includes The Awakening, Beyond the Bayou, Desiree's Baby, Ma'ame Pelagie, A Respectable Woman, The Kiss, The Locket, A Pair of Silk Stockings and More
by Kate Chopin
Table of Contents
BEYOND THE BAYOU
A RESPECTABLE WOMAN
A PAIR OF SILK STOCKINGS
OVERVIEW of The Awakening
Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, The Awakening centers around Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism.
The novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernism and prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams.
The Awakening was particularly controversial upon publication in 1899. Although the novel was never technically banned, it was censored. Chopin's novel was considered immoral not only for its comparatively frank depictions of female sexual desire but for its depiction of a protagonist who chafed against social norms and established gender roles. The public reaction to the novel was similar to the protests which greeted the publication and performance of Henrik Ibsen's landmark drama A Doll's House (1879), a work with which The Awakening shares an almost identical theme.
However, published reviews ran the gamut from outright condemnation to the recognition of The Awakening as an important work of fiction by a gifted practitioner. A good example of this can be found in the divergent reactions of two newspapers in Kate Chopin's hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis Republic labeled the novel "poison" and "too strong a drink for moral babes" and the St. Louis Mirror said: "One would fain beg the gods, in pure cowardice, for sleep unending rather than to know what an ugly, cruel, loathsome Monster Passion can be when, like a tiger, it slowly awakens. This is the kind of awakening that impresses the reader in Mrs. Chopin's heroine." Later in the same year, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch would write in praise of the novel in an essay entitled "A St. Louis Woman Who Has Turned Fame Into Literature."
Chopin did not write another novel after The Awakening and had understandable difficulty in trying to publish stories after its publication; but today it is regarded as a classic of feminist fiction.
"They formed a congenial group sitting there that summer afternoon--Madame Ratignolle sewing away, often stopping to relate a story or incident with much expressive gesture of her perfect hands; Robert and Mrs. Pontellier sitting idle, exchanging occasional words, glances or smiles which indicated a certain advanced stage of intimacy and camaraderie.
He had lived in her shadow during the past month. No one thought anything of it. Many had predicted that Robert would devote himself to Mrs. Pontellier when he arrived. Since the age of fifteen, which was eleven years before, Robert each summer at Grand Isle had constituted himself the devoted attendant of some fair dame or damsel. Sometimes it was a young girl, again a widow; but as often as not it was some interesting married woman.
For two consecutive seasons he lived in the sunlight of Mademoiselle Duvigne's presence. But she died between summers; then Robert posed as an inconsolable, prostrating himself at the feet of Madame Ratignolle for whatever crumbs of sympathy and comfort she might be pleased to vouchsafe.
Mrs. Pontellier liked to sit and gaze at her fair companion as she might look upon a faultless Madonna.
"Could any one fathom the cruelty beneath that fair exterior?" murmured Robert.
"She knew that I adored her once, and she let me adore her. It was 'Robert, come; go; stand up; sit down; do this; do that; see if the baby sleeps; my thimble, please, that I left God knows where. Come and read Daudet to me while I sew.'"
Kate Chopin, born Katherine O'Flaherty (February 8, 1851 – August 22, 1904), was an American author of short stories and novels. She is now considered by some to have been a forerunner of feminist authors of the 20th century.
From 1892 to 1895, she wrote short stories for both children and adults which were published in such magazines as Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, the Century, and Harper's Youth's Companion. Her major works were two short story collections, Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897). Her important short stories included "Desiree's Baby", a tale of miscegenation in antebellum Louisiana (published in 1893); "The Story of an Hour" (1894), and "The Storm "(1898). "The Storm" is a sequel to "The 'Cadian Ball," which appeared in her first collection of short stories, Bayou Folk. Chopin also wrote two novels: At Fault (1890) and The Awakening (1899), which are set in New Orleans and Grand Isle, respectively. The people in her stories are usually inhabitants of Louisiana. Many of her works are set in Natchitoches in north central Louisiana.
Within a decade of her death, Chopin was widely recognized as one of the leading writers of her time. In 1915, Fred Lewis Pattee wrote, "some of [Chopin's] work is equal to the best that has been produced in France or even in America. [She displayed] what may be described as a native aptitude for narration amounting almost to genius."