Sunday 19 December 2021

The Awakening

Finished December 12
The Awakening by Kate Chopin

This is a very languid read, and very much about the central character and her reactions to her situation. Edna Pontellier is a young woman, married to a Louisiana businessman somewhat older than them. They have two young sons, and have a domestic who looks after them. 
Edna is not a natural mother, and while she spends time with her children, she doesn't dote on them or worry over them. 
This is their first summer that she has spent on Grand Isle, a resort community not far from New Orleans. Her husband joins her on weekends as do most of the other husbands, and she spends the week with the other wives, her children, and one of the sons of the resort owner who is of a similar age to her. His name is Robert Lebrun, and Mr. Pontellier is aware of the attentions paid by him to his wife, but does not worry over it. Robert does this with a young woman every summer, and it is generally attention with mild flirting.
But this attention awakens something in Edna, and she reacts in an unexpected way. She grew up in Mississippi and Kentucky on her father's plantation and led a sheltered existence. This new experience has left her unsettled, longing for something else in her life, and dissatisfied with her luxurious lifestyle. As she ventures away from expected behaviours, her husband makes moves to save face, and reaches out to her, but she seems to not realize her situation.
This is a sad novel, one where I wished I could change the course of what I could see developing. 

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