Study Guide

The Awakening What’s Up With the Title?

By Kate Chopin

What’s Up With the Title?

This one's easy, guys. Chopin wasn't going for a A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius-style head-scratcher of a title. She didn't have time: she was writing a radical book about a woman's sexual and spiritual liberation in the dang Victorian Era.

The Awakening is a phrase which symbolically describes what happens to the main character, Edna Pontellier, as she becomes an aware and conscious human being in the course of this book. What is she conscious of? Mostly the fact that her life has been constrained by her role in her family, and that there’s more to Edna than wife and mother extraordinaire.