Public Contaversy

– Awakening By Kate Chopin Essay, Research Paper

Public Contaversy – Awakening by Kate ChopinThe 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 she wasseen as a scoundrel. At the time, it was “a world that values only her performanceas a mother, whose highest expectations for women are self sacrifice and self-effacement.” ( ? ) The people of that era were not ready to admit or accept thesimple but hidden feelings of intimacy or sexuality and the true nature ofwomanhood. Kate Chopin’s book portrayed a woman of that time in a quiteunorthodox way. In fact, [ When she wrote the book in 1899, she ] “achievedwhat was to prove her literary masterpiece and her ultimate break with populartaste” ( Cully, Intro. )That book was written in 1899. During this era women were seen as veryproper and sophisticated individuals who were considered caretakers of thehome. They wore an excessive amount of clothing and never exposedthemselves in public or otherwise. If a woman was caught exposing herself inpublic, would be shunned and looked down upon. Loyalty and commitment to thefamily was very important during this time. Regardless of their family problems,they were expected to endure and stay faithful. [ In fact, ] ” the nineteenthcentury’s message of the supremacy of motherhood was so strong and so intensethat it was absorbed into the systems of it’s women – even women like Edna [ ,acharacter in Chopin's book, ] who were not maternally inclined.” ( ? ) You couldalmost say that women were considered symbols of everything that is pure in thesociety in which they lived. Anything short of that was considered unacceptable.

Because of the time that Chopin lived in: ” The Appearance in print of hermost recent work had brought her harsh criticism and condemnation, as well asostracism 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 disgusting piece ofliterature. One critic of that time stated : “One cannot refrain from regret that sobeautiful a style and so much refinement of taste have been spent by MissChopin on an essentially vulgar story.”( ? ). Most critics and readers of that erafelt the same way as this critic did. People were not willing to put up with whatthey felt was a trashy novel. Thusly, it was banned for approximately 50 years. Allof her colleagues shunned her and put her on a black list of sorts for writers. Herfriends did not acknowledge her existence and she became an outcast insociety. In 1904, Chopin died a lonely death. The only thing that survived to keepher memory alive was her writings. Not only did her writings survive, but as timed passed on, people began tosee Chopin’s true Genius. The appreciation for the novel grew and it became oneof the more well known, and well loved novels of the time. Why did this happen?Well maybe it was because of the contravercy it introduced. To tell the truth, ” themisunderstanding that surrounds Edna’s personal history, as well as the history ofChopin’s novel itself, attests to the greatness of both Edna and her creator.” ( ? )Chopin went from being known as an outcast of society to a pioneer of thefeminist movement. She was one of the first women to express herself fullywithout conformity to societies pressures. All of this happened because of herbook. This book was named The Awakening.


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