Daniel Mesick, Principal
740 Rose Ave. W, St Paul, MN 55117
(651) 293-8800 | Get Directions
Kate Chopin’s (Kate O’ Flaherty) The Awakening published 1899
In keeping withour study of banned books our next novel will be a book that was consideredscandalous for it’s time. In fact after it was published reviewers claimed themain character was “shocking,” “sickening,” and “selfish.” It was also quotedas being “not a healthy book” and “too strong a drink for moral babes, andshould be labeled poison.” Although there is no evidence this novel was everofficially banned, the overwhelmingly negative reviews effectively removed thenovel from circulation for over fifty years. Willa Cather even gave it anegative review calling it “trite and sordid.” So now, you know it must begood.J Happy reading!
Things to look foras you read
· Formsof expression
· Treatmentof African Americans—quadroons, mulattos, blacks
· Theocean, the sea, swimming
· Roleand behavior of women
· Evidenceof local color/regionalism
· Ideasabout children
· Sleeping,dreaming, waking
1. Whatdoes the parrot say? What does it mean? How might these comments foreshadowwhat will occur in the novel?
2. DescribeLeonce Pontellier. Specifically describe his reaction to the parrot, how hespeaks to his wife, and his reaction to Mrs. Pontellier’s question about dinner.
3. Whatis the role of the “quadroon”?
1. DescribeEdna Pontellier. What does she look like? Where is she from? Where does shelive now?
2. Whereis this story taking place?
1. Howdoes Leonce feel when he returns home?
2. Howdoes he feel about Edna’s mothering skills?
3. Whydoes Edna cry?
4. How doothers feel about Leonce?
1. Whatis a mother-woman? Why is Edna not one? Who is one?
2. DescribeAdele Ratignolle.
3. How isEdna different from Creole women?
1. Howdoes Robert relate to women on the island?
2. Howdoes Edna feel about sketching?
1. “Acertain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her – the light which, showingthe way, forbids it.” What does the light represent? How does it forbid as itcompels?
2. Whatdoes Edna come to realize about her “position in the universe”?
3. Whatis the ocean’s affect on Edna?
1. Whatis the “outward life which conforms, and the inward life which questions”?
2. Whatdoes Edna blame her change upon?
3. How doEdna Adele’s outward appearances represent their inward lives?
4. DescribeEdna’s childhood and past “relationships.”
1. Whydoes Adele tell Robert that Edna is not one of them?
2. Who isAlcee Arobin? What stories does Robert tell about him?
3. DescribeRobert’s relationship with his mother.
4. Whydoesn’t anyone take Robert seriously?
1. Theparrot scene is repeated. What do you think it symbolizes?
2. Describethe story Mlle Reisz’s playing conjures for Edna.
1. “Shewanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before.” List all of themeanings you make from the above sentence.
2. Whydid Edna have an encounter with death?
1. How isEdna changed towards her husband after her swim?
2. Whatkind of husband do you think Leonce is?
1. Whereare Robert and Edna going, and why is it unusual?
1. Howdid Leonce react to Edna’s late return?
2. Whatdoesn’t Edna realize about herself?
3. Whatdoes Robert’s song, “si tu savais” (if you knew), represent?
Daniel Mesick, Principal | 740 Rose Ave W, St Paul, MN 55117 | (651) 293-8800 | Get Directions
Grades: 9-12 Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Fax: (651) 293-8806