What features make The Awakening a "local color" story?
What customs and beliefs of Edna Pontellier's society are significant in relation to her psychological development? 3.
What attitudes and tendencies in the Creole characters does Edna have trouble adjusting to? 4.
Why did Edna marry Leonce? Is he the model husband?
What incidents in the novel reveal that he may not be a good husband for Edna? 6.
How do Mlle. Reisz and Mme. Ratignolle function in relation to Edna and the novel's view of women as mothers and artists? 7.
What kind of mother is Edna? What kind of artist is she?
How are the background characters such as the young lovers and the lady in black at the shore, significant in Edna's story? 9.
In detail, explain how the flashbacks to Edna's past function. How does her father compare to the other men in her life? 10.
How does the view of romantic love develop in the course of the novel? What is the doctor's view of marriage and childbearing? 11.
Can you think of an emotional attachment and/or a romantic obsession you have studied in a previous work? How does that incident or character compare with Edna's emotional and romantic relationships? 12.
What are the main images and symbols in the novel?
Why does Edna get involved with Alcee Arobin?
Why do you suppose critics were outraged at this novel in 1899, saying it committed "unutterable crimes against polite society" and should be labeled "poison" to protect "moral babes"? 15.
What is your reaction to the end of the novel? Do you agree or disagree with the reasons for Edna's final action?
The Awakening was written in the 1800’s. At this time, women did not have many rights. Their duties were to take care of the house and family. They had no say or right to speak their emotions or opinions. They also could not express themselves freely. The Awakening is an example of “local color” because it exemplifies this type of living through the protagonist. Edna Potellier is a...
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