It’s hard to believe that The Awakening and Other Selected Stories was written in the 1880s. Not only is the story still incredibly relevant, but Ms. Chopin’s writing has a bite to it that I haven’t seen in the majority of her male contemporaries – let alone the women.
The Awakening is a ~100 page novella which takes up about half of this collection. It’s the story of a woman slowly realizing that she doesn’t particularly care for being defined as a wife and mother. She’d rather have her own time, her own adventures and create her own heartbreaks. Which is exactly what she does.
Chopin’s stories are well known for being very controversial at the time they were published (and in fact many of them were not published until the ’60s – not because they wouldn’t have sold but because they were simply too racy) and it’s not hard to see why. She writes about women who enjoy sex, women who cheat on their husbands and women who are generally bull-headed and willful.
I enjoyed this collection not just because it was one of the first feminist texts, but because the writing was solid. I’ve read plenty of literature from the turn of the century and certainly it typically sounds like it. Aside from some interesting swear words, the writing in this collection was fresh enough that it could have been written much more recently.