Considered a landmark work of early feminism, The Awakening by Kate Chopin is definitely a must-read.
Catherine O’Flaherty or as many know her, Kate Chopin, was born on February 8, 1850. Even at school or at home, Kate grew up being surrounded with intelligent women that had a great effect on her writing.
Though it received much public contempt during its release, The Awakening is one of the earliest American novels that focus on women’s issues without condescension. The story revolves around the character of Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her liberated beliefs with oppressive social structures of her time.
Chopin had woven a story that laid the foundation for the feminism canon. Her depiction of a married woman who does not have any chance to live a fulfilling life is a classic account of gender crises during the Victorian era.
Her frank approach on sexual themes was crafted in such a way that it’s sophisticated, artistic, and strong. As the book progresses, Edna’s character comes to life in such a way that you’d turn page after page just to follow her story.
The book also shows the implications of self expression and how women were able to grow and nurture themselves.
What makes Kate Chopin’s The Awakening an essential read is because it’s a constant reminder for women how far we have come, and how some of these issues are still relevant today.