The Awakening and Selected Short Stories
83 Installments—Entirely free
Members' Rating: from 9 Ratings
Here we have a collection of Kate Chopin's writing that includes her masterpiece The Awakening. In that 1899 novel, a vacation brings about a wave of new experience and passion that one woman has never before known. Edna Pontellier has the perfect life, so it would seem. She has a comfortable home, a wealthy husband, and two healthy children. On vacation at an ocean resort one summer, Edna meets an intriguing young man whose attention and sensitivity offer her a chance at the physical intimacy and expression that have always been missing from her life. Once Edna experiences this new taste of liberty, she boldly changes her whole life. She moves out of her home to live on her own, leaving her family and old life behind. Edna embarks on a quest for passionate experience, all the while hoping for the return of the young man who first brought about her "awakening." It is a moving story, bold in its day, about new possibilities that modern women could suddenly find available to them, and the challenges of breaking free of old ways.
Back to top
Born in St. Louis to a comfortable family, Kate Chopin (1851-1904) grew up a voracious reader. After her education, she was married at the early age of twenty. By age twenty-eight, she had borne six children. Although Chopin and her husband settled in New Orleans originally, strained finances forced their family to relocate to rural Louisiana. Here, Chopin began to make observations into human nature and society that would fuel the striking characters and settings of her later writings. Chopin's husband died suddenly, and she moved her family back to St. Louis, where she was further shattered by the subsequent death of her mother. When her family doctor suggested writing as a way to draw herself out of depression, Chopin found her calling. She enjoyed success through stories published in literary magazines, but when her novel The Awakening debuted, she found that she had pushed the boundaries of convention and propriety too far for the American public. Chopin's striking depiction of a married woman who forsakes her husband, children, and home for the love of another man was simply too much for contemporary readers. Chopin, crushed by this negative response, retreated from the spotlight. Though her works were not published for many years following her death, they are now considered to be valuable and provocative expressions of the unvoiced passions, thoughts, and ambitions of women constrained by the rules of an earlier age.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over:
"Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That's all right!"
He could speak a little Spanish, and also a language which nobody understood, unless it was the mocking-bird that hung on the other side of ...
Ratings for 'The Awakening and Selected Short Stories' by Chopin, Kate