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The Awakening

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
By: (1851-1904)

This book opens with a young wife and mother, vacationing at a resort in the Gulf of Mexico with her husband and children. The resort is run by an elderly Frenchwoman, who manages the place along with her two sons. The young wife and one of the sons develop a deep and passionate attachment to each other, with devastating effects on both families and their circle of friends.

When Kate Chopin's 1899 novel The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, was first released, it evoked a storm of controversy. Though it was not actually banned, it received public censure across the United States. It was considered immoral and subversive, dangerous to the moral well being of “innocent” women and too frank in its depiction of female desires and physical needs. It challenged the existing gender roles and created a hitherto unrecognized space for a woman's requirement for self fulfillment, something which was seen as inflammatory and ruinous to society in general.

Kate Chopin (formerly Katherine O'Flaherty) was an American short story writer and novelist who explored the landscape of New Orleans culture and the female mind. Brought up in a privileged background in St. Louis, she married Oscar Chopin, a wealthy French-Creole plantation owner and became a prominent member of St. Louis society. Her husband's financial troubles led them to leave the plantation and move to provincial Cloutierville, Louisiana, where Oscar owned a small estate. Following his sudden death, Kate and their six children moved back to St. Louis where she began writing in 1889.

The Awakening was her second and last novel, and evoked a great sense of outrage in conservative Missouri, where the feminist movement which was sweeping America was completely absent at the time. Chopin was hurt and mystified by this reaction and almost abandoned her writing career after this.

The Awakening is a deeply sensitive and insightful portrait of a woman and her conflicts. Many scholars have traced the origins of The Awakening to an affair that Kate Chopin herself had with a married neighbor following Oscar's death. Readers will immediately identify with the questions and dilemmas raised in the book and it seems strangely contemporary today. Kate Chopin's writing style, with its rich imagery, full of local atmosphere and color, her compassion and the frank and fearless way in which she discusses the hitherto unexplored landscape of a woman's mind are what make The Awakening a book that marked a shift in the moral universe of the time.

Today The Awakening is hailed as an early and a vivid portrayal of female independence, besides being itself an absorbing read.

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 7 reviews)

Reviewer: - February 17, 2021
Subject: Review The Awakening
Elizabeth Clet did an outstanding job or narrating this book. Simply flawless in her presentation. The book was a simple love triangle that was enjoyable, but I could see this book being considered a bit pretentious in its time. The ending was odd.
Reviewer: - December 12, 2019
Subject: Nice written, nicely spoken....
Fantastic story. Relatable yet alien.
Reviewer: - June 28, 2018
A very good story. I really enjoyed it. Thank you.
Reviewer: - August 2, 2016
Subject: Not bad
Well read. Interesting story.
Reviewer: - July 28, 2016
Subject: book
The reader makes the book interesting. Well done
Reviewer: - May 8, 2015
Wonderfully well read by Elizabeth Klett--she is always a pleasure to listen to.
Reviewer: - March 7, 2013
Good quality recording, a bit too fast at times though.

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