It's ironic that I'm writing this post on valentines day since, here I am reading a book about a woman who awakens from a stifling relationship. I'm far from being close to finishing but I already feel like I'm more opened minded just by reading the little bit that I have so far.
The writing is very beautiful. Kate Chopin, the author of the story The Awakening is quite skilled at descriptive writing and evoking imagery in her storytelling. She does it in a way that makes the main character Edna seem ambiguous in definition, almost like she could be anyone until (of course) when she differentiates here from other characters who are coloured. But still there are times when I feel like her character could be similar to me, black, Latino, or just a minority. It's in the way that she writes Edna as an outsider from a community which she is invited to be part of because of her marriage to a Creole man.
But maybe it's because I read her other short stories before getting to The Awakening where she kept switching from characters that were black and white without a clear cross over so they all kind of blended together for me. And it is for this reason that I think the book could be relatable to anyone.
I think this story is especially relevant today because of how it focuses on the importance of freedom and ones identity in a relationship. They say that intimate relationships are where the challenges of sexism can be most pronounced and Chopin clearly addresses this issue and the juxtaposition of romantic love and feeling suffocated because of a relationship. I think she's trying to present a better understanding of what a healthy relationship should not look like through Edna's self-realization.
All that considered, I haven't read enough of the story to make a real judgement about how I feel about the story or Edna. But I can say that I like her and her journey so far. I like that she is always questioning things. I like that she is able to present a different version of her self yet recognizing that she may be wrong and seems open to change. I like that in a time where women were made to participate in society in a certain way with specific expectations ( though she tries to abide by these rules) she still does so in an unconventional way, unnoticed by her. Finally I particularly like that she's 28 yet she seems so naive. There's something very intriguing about her personality.
When I'm reading I feel like I'm reading poetry. It's hard to describe it really, but this writing style is very different from those that I've read in the past. Edifying, creative, and really tunes into to sensuality. It's super hard to describe how it makes me feel but I really do feel like it's making me more aware.
This is just an initial overview so there's not much to report. Again, I haven't read the back of the book or read reviews about the book, so I don't really know what it's about. So this review is my unbiased, uninfluenced first impression.
In the edition I am reading I am on page 211 of 351 pages so I'm not too far from the end. I think the story will be similar to Anna Karenina. We'll see how it plays out.
Have you read the book before? Even if you haven't comment below. I want to know what you're thinking. Don't be stingy with your thoughts!