by: Kate Chopin
The Awakening was particularly controversial upon publication in 1899. Although the novel was never technically banned, it was censored. Chopin’s novel was considered immoral not only for its comparatively frank depictions of female sexual desire but also for its depiction of a protagonist who chafed against social norms and established gender roles.
The novel opens with the Pontellier family vacationing on Grand Isle at a resort on the Gulf of Mexico managed by Madame Lebrun and her two sons. With the summer vacation over, the Pontelliers return to New Orleans. Edna gradually reassesses her priorities and takes a more active role in her own happiness.