Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thoughts: The Awakening by Kate Chopin (Part 1)

When I saw a copy of The Awakening at the local secondhand bookstore, I immediately snatched it up. I've heard of it before through various book bloggers, and thought of it as 'that book about a woman who has an affair.' First published in 1899, the critics must have flayed Chopin alive for writing about a woman so independent.

I was a bit hesitant when I started reading the first chapter. A married woman having an affair in the 1800s? These things never seem to end well, especially in classics. By the third chapter, though, I was immediately sucked into the Grand Isle, the resort where Kate Chopin's heroine, Edna Pontellier, is vacationing with her family and where she meets the owner's son, Robert.

Chopin's prose is so light and airy. She has a gift for vivid descriptions, and, while reading The Awakening, I feel like I'm in a huge room with wide windows and almost-transparent white curtains being ruffled by a sea breeze.

On to Chapter XVI...

Note: I was really inspired by Allie's posts on A Literary Odyssey. They seem so personal, so I decided to try her approach. :)

10 comments:

Jenny O. said...

I love this novel. I loved discussing it in my humanities course in college as well. I read so many criticisms of the novel after finishing, just because I couldn't get enough of it.

Kate Chopin has some great short stories as well. Try Desiree's Baby, and another called The Storm, I think. She also translated some of Maupassant's stories, and he is one of the best short story writers (Maupassant was mentored by Flaubert, who was a childhood friend of his mother). The parrot always reminded me of Flaubert's novel, and the similarity between the fallen women. Plus Edna sounds so much like Emma.

Anyhow, can't wait to read your review. :)

Kristi said...

The Awakening is on my TBR list. I'm glad you're enjoying it so far. I'm hoping I get to it soon.

I love the new look to your blog! The header is fantastic.

mel u said...

I like Chopin's style a lot-she does a great job creating a sense of place

fatbooks.org said...

i'm glad you're enjoying this. i reread it a few months ago, after reading it in high school and labeling it "that book about the woman who..." (once you finish i bet you can complete that sentence.) i loved it on the reread; chopin has a real skill for description, and on the reread i was able to appreciate her work more than i was as a 16-year-old. can't wait to read your final thoughts on it!

-- ellen

Amanda said...

I cant' wait to see what you think of this one! It's one of my all time favorites.

Sam said...

I've not heard of this one but it sounds like something I would enjoy. Looking forward to your final review :)

Allie said...

You are so sweet. :)

I actually finished this one in December and my posts are still sitting in draft form. They should pop up in the next few days on my blog. I'm curious to see what you make of this as you continue on. It is definitely a book that I love, ever since I first read it in high school. Of course, I find far more meaning in it now, but well, you'll see. :)

Allie said...

Pssst...is there any way I can get your e-mail? I saw your "wishlist" page and I have a couple spare titles I can mail your way if you want them. :)

Erin said...

I, too, picked up a second hand copy of The Awakening! You've beaten me to reading it, though. I'm looking forward to getting to it!

I'm hoping to start doing more posts like this as well, sort of checking in midway through a book instead of just reviewing it at the end. It's a more personal style, I think, and one I've really enjoyed reading!

Jillian said...

I really look forward to this novel! Have fun with it. (I love the relaxed posting style.) :-)

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