The Awakening by Kate Chopin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Finally! After about 20 years on my to-read list I have finished it! I don't know why I thought this would be a daunting read. It is relatively easy to read, but very complex in its themes and tone. I wonder how I would have viewed it had I read it 20 years ago. I think that motherhood has allowed me to see it through different eyes.
Edna is extremely selfish, once she is "awakened." But does she have the right to be? Just because she came to certain realizations after committing to a life as a wife and a mother (and very particular ones at that), should these realizations be suppressed?
I think that every wife and mother can relate to Edna on some level. But her actions are so completely foreign to me in this day and age that, similarities aside, it is hard for me to grasp her complete embrace of selfishness. I don't think she was that confined in the first place, but the reality of her perceived oppression can't be denied. There were times when I began to think that she is completely oblivious to the duties she is abandoning until she makes it clear that she is well aware and, aside from a slight twinge of guilt, she doesn't care.
I am glad I read this (I wanted to read along with my 15 year old). The overall feel of this novel will remain with me for a long time.
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