What is the central idea of Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening?

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Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The central idea of Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening can be identified in the title of the work. Edna Pointellier, the protagonist of the story, experiences both a psychological/emotional awakening and a sexual one, and the consequences of her personal development prove to be very dramatic for Edna and the members of her family and community.

The central idea of a literary work is also called its theme, and it often includes the notion of a lesson that can be learned from the literary work. From The Awakening, a reader might learn about the high cost of repressing one's own needs for those of others. Edna has given up herself for her family, and eventually, she wakes up and experiences a deep sense of agency, only to take her own life in an ironic gesture of self-actualization.

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The central theme of Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening is implied by the title itself. The book is very much about a variety of different kinds of “awakening” experienced by Edna Pontellier, the main character of the...

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