Study Guide

The Awakening Tone

By Kate Chopin


Somber, serious, and solemn

Chopin wrote The Awakening in fairly formal prose that conveys a certain sense of gravity to the story. This seriousness is exacerbated by the novel’s point of view—the third person omniscient point of view tends to be much more distant than, say, first person.

But hey: Chopin was breaking down the barriers of what was acceptable female behavior in fiction. She needed to make the tone somber—no one was going to respect a book about a housewife having two affairs and flouting societal expectations if it were silly or glib.