Kate Chopin’s groundbreaking novel of early feminism set against the evocative backdrop of turn-of-the-century New Orleans
Edna Pontellier is trapped. By her marriage, by her responsibilities to two young sons, by the expectations of Creole society. When she falls in love with the charming and flirtatious Robert Lebrun during a summer on the Louisiana coast, Edna awakens to a new sense of herself, and to the possibility of true independence. Mademoiselle Reisz, a locally renowned musician, offers one example of the self-sufficient, artistic existence Edna might lead. An affair with the notorious womanizer Alcée Arobin warns of the passion and danger inherent in living outside the boundaries of convention. Torn between the life that was handed to her and the one she wants to live, Edna makes a shocking decision.
Overwhelmingly criticized in its day for its frank depictions of female sexuality, marriage, and a woman’s desire for independence, The Awakening is now celebrated as one of the earliest—and most revolutionary—feminist novels in American literature.