Sunday, 24 April 2016

Book Review: The Awakening

Taken from Here
The Awakening
By Kate Chopin

Many of my friends and family know that I am a huge supporter of women's rights and my own individualism, strength and independence. However, I always been sceptical of academic feminism and some thoughts and movements surrounding feminism. I find myself being placed in the way of many feminsit novels, scholarly articles and writting on topics surrounding women, including recently writting an essay on women in Alberta Politics and a report on women in office since the 2015 Canadian election.

During my grade 12 Provinical exam for English, there was a peice we had to read from 'The Awakening' by Kate Chopin. I loved the peice taken from novel and immidiatly put it on my 'to read' list on GoodReads. However, I didn't end up reading it till this year (almost 3 years after finishing English 30).

I didn't really know what I was getting myself into but about half way through I knew it was a feminist novel. I rolled my eyes but kept reading thinking it would get crazy feminist and unrealistic. Despite this, I was greatly suprised by the end of the book and fell in love with the whole thing.

The novel focuses on the life of Edna, a young wife with two children and a devoted but society inclined husband. She starts the novel as a placid simple women who lives to be accepted and part of society. However her male companion Robert and her start to fall in love, which 'awakens' a part of her she didn't know existed. Robert leaves before the relationship can become physical and Edna changes drasticlly throughout the rest of the book.

This change included wanting to work, not following high society norms, moving into her own home and eventually taking a lover. These events are part of her growth in life and her relaization that she doesn't have to impress everyone or be what is expeted of her.

The thing I loved about the novel was how relaistic it was regarding modern women through a novel written in the ltate 1800s. It was a blast to the future without taking it to far. Edna still cares for the people around her, the men around her, her children and her life. But it shows the needs, wants and style of a women from 2015 and what we want from life. It also explains the struggle we feel between being tradionally focused wants and focusing on a career and independant life style.

The end is tragic due to the weight these pressures put on her and her new 'modern' lifestyle. Yet it brings light to how lucky women are today to be encouraged to be 'awakened' and be able to live the life we want and not the domestic life women were pressured into. We can work if we chose, we can raise children and stay home if we want. We have a choice, where Edna tried to have a choice and in the end suffered the conseuquences because of the society she lived in.

An amazing book, one I would recommend to anyone and everyone.


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