Co-Narrators of Kate Chopin's The Awakening

Co-Narrators of Kate Chopin's The Awakening

by Robert E. Kohn


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Co-Narrators of Kate Chopin's The Awakening by Robert E. Kohn

It is generally presumed that the narrator of Kate Chopin's The Awakening is a single individual, anonymous, and for the most part aligned with the author. Kohn argues that this novel is better understood if specific co-narrators are presumed, namely Charles Darwin, Walt Whitman, Elise Miltenberger, and Sigmund Freud. Darwin's presence sharpens the contrast between those characters in The Awakening who exhibit the genetically driven, adaptive behavior that enabled early humans to survive, as opposed to those characters who do not. The motives for Edna Pontellier's suicide are less than convincing, in part because it was inspired by lines from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, which romanticize the ocean's invitation. Mademoiselle Reisz is likely Jewish-that particular characters in The Awakening consider her a disagreeable person may be compounded by an atmosphere of antisemitism. One of the Sacred Heart sisters who fought against the Vatican's antisemitism was Chopin's childhood friend Elise Miltenberger. Emil Kraepelin might have been a better choice for Chopin's co-narrator in the area of mental disorders. Although Freud has lost credibility having felt "obliged to recognize that, in so far as one can speak of determining causes which lead to the acquisition of neuroses, their etiology is to be looked for in sexual factors," the general belief today favors Kraepelin's inclination to look for physical origins. Kohn suggests that Kate Chopin's remarkable obsession with her lover Albert Sampite may have been some kind of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, strange enough to involve both Freud's sexual factors and Kraepelin's physical origins.

This book covers topics including Antisemitism, Bipolar Disorder, Kate Chopin, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Emil Kraepelin, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Mother Superior Miltenberger, suicide and Walt Whitman.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781494736811
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 01/21/2014
Pages: 74
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.15(d)

About the Author

Robert E. Kohn, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, changed his field of study to literary and art criticism after his retirement in 1990. He published more than twenty-five journal articles in the new field, plus a book on Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 and a book applying Prudentius's fifth century Latin classic, Psychomachia, to present day American politics. Professor Kohn passed away on April 5, 2014.

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