The Awakening Questions and Answers
by Kate Chopin

The Awakening book cover
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When Was The Awakening Written?

The Awakening was written in the period between 1897-1898.

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The Awakening is a psychological fiction novel written by American novelist and short story writer Kate Chopin. Chopin began writing the novel sometime in 1897 and finished writing it in January, 1898; a year later, on April 22, 1899, the novel was published by Herbert S. Stone & Company, in Chicago.

Set in Grand Isle, off the coust of Louisiana, as well as in the city of New Orleans, in the 1890s, The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier—a young woman trapped in an unhappy marriage and a mother of two, who decides to explore her deepest desires, in order to uncover her true self. Upon publication, the novel was heavily criticized for its "controversial" themes, such as: sexuality, exploration of femininity, freedom of expression, lust and passion, and infidelity; the thematic representations and the narrative in general were considered unorthodox, provocative and even shameless, especially because of the fact that the main protagonist was a woman. Today, however, the novel is considered to be one of the most important works of feminist literature from the nineteenth century.

Chopin also explores gender roles and the social stigmas which were popular in the South, as well as the archaic belief that the only ambition of women is to be good wives and mothers. Her main character, Edna, challenges these norms and goes on a quest to find happiness and satisfaction and to finally discover her identity.