Book, Reviews

A Husband’s Conspicious Consumption

The Awakening and Selected StoriesThe Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I promise to be brutally honest with my opinion, but it should not be taken as fact. Any reader should read it for themselves, before they decide if this book has any merit or not. Do not judge this book biased solely on my opinion. If you do, you might miss out on a great read. You never know. It could happen.

1. Strong Main Character/ Female Heroine: Edna is definitely what one would call a strong woman in the 1800s. She married her husband after being infatuated with the idea of him and to disobey her father and sister. She is an independent woman, who wants to take her life back and have a crush on a younger man, but she neglects her children in the process. Edna could have had both. She could have had her lover Robert on the side, while still be a mother to her children. Plenty of modern day parents stay married only for their children and have lovers on the side. I am not saying that that is the right way to go, but it is better than the alternative. Edna commits suicide, because she cannot escape her marriage and be with Robert. 3 out of 5 stars

2. Strong Minor Characters: There is only four main people in this book that could be called minor characters. Edna’s husband is one of them. He is obsessed with wealth and his possessions. He views his wife and his children as his possessions as well that should be admired by the rest of society. Chopin introduces the concept of conspicuous consumption, which is the idea that men in those times showed off their wealth by showering their wives with precious jewels and the latest fashions. They bought mansions and decorate them fabulously. They go on expensive vacations and hire many servants to do the daily house duties. Robert is a caring young man, who is imaginative and very adventurous. He wishes to be flirty with Edna, but soon becomes attached and in love with her. Adele becomes close friends with Edna and tries to get her to think a little more about the wellbeing of the children instead of always about herself. Madame Reiz teaches piano to students and is an example for Edna’s wish to be an artist herself. I found the minor characters more interesting and three dimensional than Edna herself. 5 out of 5 stars

3. The Setting: The story takes place on an island resort and then later, in the city as well. The fact that Chopin actually describes real places in the United States was a pleasant surprise for me, since I have been reading books with made up cities and such in Young Adult novels. It is refreshing to actually be taken to a real place and transported back to a real tangible time. 4 out of 5 stars

4. The Plot: This is my first time reading this story and I have to say that I was somewhat surprised by the ending. I mean, I know that Edna was feeling vulnerable, but I did not really expect her to take it that far, to that kind of an extreme. If you are new to my reviewing style, I will just tell you that I do not restate the plot or the back cover of the book. My reader you can read that for yourself. I want to tell you my experience with the book and REVIEW what I think about it. So, this is what I think about the plot. I enjoyed the story and all it had to offer. It provided a historical portrait of Creole society at the time. 5 out of 5 stars

Overall, this book gets a 4 ¼ from me. There were a few fine details that I would have liked to fix. For example, I would have made Edna a little more likable and relatable. She seemed like such a spoiled, rich woman to me, but she could have been portrayed differently to be more relatable to others in Creole society as a whole.

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