The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a classic novel set in the 1800s that explores the revelations of the simple housewife, Edna Pontellier. While on vacation with her husband and her two sons in the Grand Isle near New Orleans, Edna makes new friendships that transform her ordinary life and perspective upside down.
The drama starts when Edna befriends Adèle Ratignolle, a creole native to the area, and then realizes that her life up until this point has been restrained and ordinary. Edna learns that Creole women have more freedom in the way that they dress and are free to explore their feminine charms. While Edna's husband is stuck going back and forth on business trips, Edna spends hours at a time with Adèle Ratignolle and eventually befriends another creole, Robert Lebrun. Instantly attracted to one another, Edna and Robert spend hours at the beach each day, and Edna learns how to swim. During this time of freedom and discovery, Edna also starts painting again; an activity she has not done in many years.
Sadly, Edna begins to feel happier when she's with Robert or alone by herself, than she does when her husband comes home at night. Alarmed at the idea of ruining Edna's relationship with her husband, Robert leaves the Grand Isle. Upon returning to New Orleans, Edna distances herself from her family and focuses on her own independence and starts an affair with another man, and eventually comes to another "awakening" moment.
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Having listened to a great number of books I must say that this book is one of the best books I have ever listened to. I remember reading this book back in college but I didn’t find it worthwhile until I actually listened to this version of the audio book which let me hear it from a different perspective. If anyone knows how to properly describe the plight of women before the many feminist movements that erupted in the United States, it surely is Kate Chopin. The best part of this book which brings it all together is the narration by Philippe Duquenoy. My what a narrator he is, and his delightful and charming voice will certainly spoil your ears. This is a must read.
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