The title, The Awakening, implies that a rebirth from a stupor into
self-awareness is something good. One would expect that someone who was once
sleeping is better off and can see more clearly when he is fully awake. But this
expectation is exactly opposite to Edna's condition. She is not awake. She is
eventually drawn by the sea and drowns herself. She was deceived. Edna fails to
see that the connection of a mother to her children is far more important than the
enjoyment of a passion which experience has taught her. By the title of this book,
Chopin is glorifying Edna's fatal situation.
Edna does not exist and never will. It is useless and perhaps dangerous to
make judgments about these characters. Assuming that their situations and the
outcomes of their behavior are applicable to our own lives is risky. Her characters
are fictional. The combinations of their actions and outcomes are entirely an
invention of Kate Chopin reflecting what she wants to teach her readers. If Chopin
has successfully convinced a reader that the characters are real or that they could be
real, the reader is likely to apply what he has learned from this fable in his or her
own life. With these assumptions in mind, one must apply the task of figuring out
what she wants people to believe and how to behave as a result of reading her book.
Edna, whose husband has held her like a piece of furniture, a piece of
personal property, suddenly becomes aware she is a human being. Leonce certainly
errs if he only values his wife as a piece of furniture. There is nothing wrong if he
believes her to be his most prized possession. The difficulty is that Edna does not
look at him in this way. They should have appraised each other’s value with mutual
respect.
I would recommend this book to others. It was well written and did not try to
cover up the truth about the life of a woman in an extra-marital affair.

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