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Synopsis

First published in 1899, this novel is set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century. The plot centers on 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. Widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, this is one of the earliest American novels to focus on women's issues without condescension.
The novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity also makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernism; it 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 be considered too 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.
Kate Chopin, born Katherine O'Flaherty (1850 – 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 Magazine, and The 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."

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