Title – The Awakening
Date of first publication- 1899
Date of Publication- 1989
Time Period- American Modernism
Edna Pontellier- the wife of Leonce Pontellier, and the main character of the book. She rejects the norms of society, and strives to find her own identity.
Leonce Pontellier- Edna’s husband. He is successful, and respected, but attempts to fit his wife into acceptable standards by society, rather than care about her own happiness.
Mademoiselle Reisz- A disagreeable lady, who is befriended by Edna.
Alcee Arobin- A likable young man, with a reputation of seducing married women
Robert Leburn- A young man, and Edna’s good friend, whom she eventually falls in love with.
Grand Isle (Island off the coast of Louisiana)
-Edna meets Robert (pg8) -Edna’s awaken cry (pg 11) -Adele and Edna’s aimless conversation (pg17-18) -Robert’s devotion (pg 19) -Saturday night Celebration (pg34-38)
-Edna’s swim (pg40) -Madame Antoine’s encounter (pg54-55) -Robert’s departure (pg61) -Letter from Robert (Chapter21) -Edna’s dream (pg82-83) -Arobin’s affair (pg132-133) -Robert’s return (pg 142-143&156) -Adele’s advice (pg158) -Robert’s cruel note (pg161) -Edna’s death (pg 166)
Part 5: Themes:
1. Feminism: Edna grows ever more independent as the story progresses. She wants to be her own person, and refuse to sacrifice herself for anyone else. This is uncommon in an era when women usually followed the expectations of their husbands, and of society.
2. Love: Marriage in this era does not necessarily equate to love. Edna does not feel love and passion for her husband. Robert and Edna claim to truly love each other. Robert desires marriage, while Edna wants freedom.
3. Identity: Edna is unsatisfied with her labels of “wife” and “mother”. She does not want to be molded into society’s expectations. Instead she seeks her own identity and freedom through a number of things such as painting, or moving into her own house.
4. Reputation: Throughout the story, Mr. Pontellier constantly worries about his reputation, and his standings in society. Although he is seen as a very respectable man, the novel does not portray as a good man. He puts social expectations in front of his wife, and ultimately their love/marriage.
Part 6: Quotes:
1. “I would give up the unessential; I would give up my money, I would give up my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself. I can’t make it more clear; it’s only something I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me”
2. “Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life”
3. “The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth.”
4. “but whatever came, she had resolved never again to belong to another than herself.”
5. “She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world”
6. “You have been a very foolish boy, wasting your time dreaming of impossible things when you speak of Mr. Pontellier setting me free! I am no longer one of Mr. Pontelliere's possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose. If he were to say, 'Here Robert, take her and be happy; she is yours,' I should laugh at you both.”
7. “She's got some sort of notion in her head concerning the eternal rights of women.”
8. “one who awakens gradually out of a dream, a delicious, grotesque, impossible dream, to feel again the realities pressing into her soul”
9. “Goodbye -- Because I love you.”
10. “I don't mind walking. I always feel so sorry for women who don't like to walk; they miss so much--so many rare little glimpses of life; and we women learn so little of life on the whole.”
Part 7: Language: The