The Pontellier family are spending a hot, lazy holiday on the Gulf of Mexico. No-one expects that Edna Pontellier should be preoccupied with anything more than her husband and children. When an illicit summer romance awakens new ideas and longings in Edna, she can barely understand herself, and cannot hope for aid or acceptance in the stifling attitudes of Louisiana society.
Kate Chopin's compelling, candid portrait of a woman attempting to break free caused an outcry when first published in 1899.
The novel expresses women's diffuse desire for personal and social change
Chopin's slight, brittle and fierce novel became a classic and a cult, shocking readers with its candid and unsentimental portrait of marital infidelity. Though the subject has lost its power to outrage, the novel has not, it remains delicately bitter and acidly angry
The Awakening is indeed a remarkable achievement, not least because of its rhapsodic ending
Chopin cuts closer to the core of her heroine's feelings... The great power of The Awakening resides not in the answers it provides, but in the questions it exposes
It doesn't seem so daring now, but it's an inspiring model of personal crusading. Written in lyrical, restrained prose, this is not only a historical document of writer ahead of her time, but an enduringly good read.