Chopin, Kate: 1851 - 1904

The Awakening, 1899 - Information about the Book

  • The novel is a commentary on the restraints faced by women at the turn of the century. Edna is expected to play dead and when she refuses, she has no option but to kill herself. She is opposed to characters like Madame Ratignolle whose affection for her children is renowned, as is her perfect female passivity. It is worth noting that Edna does not face any explicit oppression. She is merely expected to run the house, care for the children and do her best to please her husband. Nevertheless, she finds the role unbearable. She can not give her life, her identity, to others. It is better to die.
    Margaret Culley
    Excerpted, with permission, from the Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database at New York University School of Medicine, © New York University.