The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor's February 1997

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Public Controversy

The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, was a book that was truly ahead

of its time. The author of the book was truly a genius in her right, but yet she was

seen as a scoundrel. At the time, it was 'a world that values only her performance

as a mother, whose highest expectations for women are self sacrifice and self-

effacement.' ( ? ) The people of that era were not ready to admit or accept the

simple but hidden feelings of intimacy or sexuality and the true nature of

womanhood. Kate Chopin's book portrayed a woman of that time in a quite

unorthodox way. In fact, [ When she wrote the book in 1899, she ] 'achieved

what was to prove her literary masterpiece and her ultimate break with popular

taste' ( Cully, Intro. )

That book was written in 1899. During this era women were seen as very

proper and sophisticated individuals who were considered caretakers of the

home. They wore an excessive amount of clothing and never exposed

themselves in public or otherwise. If a woman was caught exposing herself in

public, would be shunned and looked down upon. Loyalty and commitment to the

family was very important during this time. Regardless of their family problems,

they were expected to endure and stay faithful. [ In fact, ] ' the nineteenth

century's message of the supremacy of motherhood was so strong and so intense

that it was absorbed into the systems of it's women - even women like Edna [ ,a

character in Chopin's book, ] who were not maternally inclined.' ( ? ) You could

almost say that women were considered symbols of everything that is pure in the

society in which they lived. Anything short of that was considered...