The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, was a book that was truly aheadof its time. The author of the book was truly a genius in her right, but yet shewas seen as a scoundrel. At the time, it was “a world that values only herperformance as a mother, whose highest expectations for women are self sacrificeand self-effacement. ” ( ? ) The people of that era were not ready to admit oraccept the simple but hidden feelings of intimacy or sexuality and the truenature of womanhood. Kate Chopin’s book portrayed a woman of that time in aquite unorthodox way.
In fact, When she wrote the book in 1899, she “achieved what was to prove her literary masterpiece and her ultimate break withpopular taste” ( Cully, Intro. )That book was written in 1899. During this era women were seen as veryproper and sophisticated individuals who were considered caretakers of the home. They wore an excessive amount of clothing and never exposed themselves in publicor otherwise. If a woman was caught exposing herself in public, would be shunnedand looked down upon. Loyalty and commitment to the family was very importantduring this time.Order now
Regardless of their family problems, they were expected toendure and stay faithful. In fact, ” the nineteenth century’s message of thesupremacy of motherhood was so strong and so intense that it was absorbed intothe 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 wereconsidered symbols of everything that is pure in the society in which they lived. Anything short of that was considered unacceptable. Because of the time that Chopin lived in: ” The Appearance in print ofher most recent work had brought her harsh criticism and condemnation, as wellas ostracism from many of those who had always formed a close-knit world of St. Louis society” ( Cully , vii ).
Her book was seen as a vile and disgustingpiece of literature. One critic of that time stated : “One cannot refrain fromregret that so beautiful a style and so much refinement of taste have been spentby Miss Chopin on an essentially vulgar story. “( ? ). Most critics and readersof that era felt the same way as this critic did. People were not willing to putup with what they felt was a trashy novel.
Thusly, it was banned forapproximately 50 years. All of her colleagues shunned her and put her on a blacklist of sorts for writers. Her friends did not acknowledge her existence and shebecame an outcast in society. In 1904, Chopin died a lonely death.
The onlything that survived to keep her memory alive was her writings. Not only did her writings survive, but as timed passed on, people beganto see Chopin’s true Genius. The appreciation for the novel grew and it becameone of the more well known, and well loved novels of the time. Why did thishappen? Well maybe it was because of the contravercy it introduced. To tell thetruth, ” the misunderstanding that surrounds Edna’s personal history, as well asthe history of Chopin’s novel itself, attests to the greatness of both Edna andher creator. ” ( ? ) Chopin went from being known as an outcast of society to apioneer of the feminist movement.
She was one of the first women to expressherself fully without conformity to societies pressures. All of this happenedbecause of her book. This book was named The Awakening.Category: Social Issues