Annotated Bibliography on The Awakening

Abel, Elizabeth, Marianne Hirsch, and Elizabeth Langland, eds. The Voyage In: Fictions of Female Development. Hanover: UP of New England, 1983.
A collection of essays on novels dealing with female development.

Anastasopoulou, Maria. "Rites of Passage in Kate Chopin's The Awakening."Southern Literary Journal 23.2 (1991): 19-30.
Maintains that The Awakening follows the structure of a rite of passage, but that Edna fails in that passage due to two flaws.

Batten, Wayne. "Illusion and Archetype: The Curious Story of Edna Pontellier." The Southern Literary Journal 28.1 (1985): 73-88.
Interprets The Awakening as a series of illusions that Edna fails to incorporate into a workable and realistic life.

Bender, Bert. "The Teeth of Desire: The Awakening and The Descent of Man." American Literature 63.3 (1991): 460-73.
Explores the influence Darwin's The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex had on the development of Chopin's female characters.

Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch's Mythology. New York: Dell, 1959.
A collection of fables, legends, and tales from Greece and Rome, the first French Empire, and Arthurian England.

Cramer, Timothy R. "Testing the Waters: Contemplating the sea in ED's poem 520 and Kate Chopin's The Awakening." Dickinson Studies 83 (1992): 51-56.
Explores the similarities in form and meaning between the sea imagery of both Dickinson and Chopin.

Culley, Margaret, ed. The Awakening. Kate Chopin. Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 1976.
An authoritative text and collection of both contemporary and modern critical views of The Awakening.

Dickinson, Emily. The Poems of Emily Dickinson. Ed. Thomas H. Johnson. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1979.
A complete, three volume collection of her poetry.

Dyer, Joyce. The Awakening: A Novel of Beginnings. Twayne's Masterwork Series 130. New York: Twayne, 1993.
A comprehensive view of The Awakening including a scholarly reading, historical background, and critical reception.

Emmit, Helen V. " 'Drowned in a Willing Sea': Freedom and Drowning in Eliot, Chopin, and Drabble." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 12 (1993): 315-32.
Explores the differences between male and female views of the sea through three different texts and suggests that Edna's death may not have been a suicide, but an unplanned act.

Franklin, Rosemary F. "The Awakening and the Failure of Psyche." American Literature 56.4 (1984): 510-26.
Uses the myth of Psyche and Eros to gloss Edna's quest for selfhood.

Gilbert, Sandra M. "The Second Coming of Aphrodite: Kate Chopin's Fantasy of Desire." The Kenyon Review 5.3 (1983): 42-66.
Explores the myth of Aphrodite in connection with Edna and then focuses upon the literary heritage Kate Chopin drew upon in writing The Awakening.

Hamilton, Edith. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. New York: Mentor, 1942.
A collection of Greek, Roman, and Norse mythological tales.

Huf, Linda. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman: The as Heroine in American Literature. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1983.
Examines the relationship between work and writer for six American women writers.

Koloski, Bernard, ed. Approaches to Teaching Chopin's The Awakening. Approaches to Teaching World Literature 16. New York: MLA, 1988.
A collection of essays addressing various teaching methods for, and approaches to, the novel.

Kearns, Katherine. "The Nullification of Edna Pontellier." American Literature 1 (1991): 62-88.
Explores why Edna could not master the concept of self and therefore, how her circumstances proceeded to nullify her.

Levine, Robert S. "Circadian Rhythms and Rebellion in Kate Chopin's The Awakening." Studies in American Fiction 10.1 (1982): 71-81.
Explores how Edna's rebellion against the ordering patterns of nature and community are the novel's central themes.

MacCurdy, Carol A. "The Awakening: Chopin's Metaphorical Use of Clothes." Publications of the Mississippi Philological Association. [no volume given] (1985): 58-66
Theorizes upon the importance of clothes as a symbol in The Awakening.

Malzahn, Manfred. "The Strange Demise of Edna Pontellier." Southern Literary Journal 23.2 (1992): 31-39.
Tries to find a narrative justification for Edna's suicide and suggests two readings: she was becoming unbalanced or she was pregnant with Arobin's child.

Martin, Wendy ed. New Essays on The Awakening. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988.
A collection of essays on The Awakening.

May, John R. "Local Color in The Awakening." Culley, 189-95.
Theorizes upon the local color elements in The Awakening and defines the movement itself.

Mitsutani, Margaret. "Kate Chopin's The Awakening: The Narcissism of Edna Pontellier." Studies in English Literature [no volume given] (1986): 3-15.
Relates the myth of Narcissus to Edna's awakening.

Moseley, Merritt. "Chopin and Mysticism." Southern Studies 25.4 (1986): 367-74.
Maintains that the reason the novel is so ambiguous is that it moves via mystic patterns rather than discursive explanations, and that these patterns explain the movements of Edna's awakening.

Papke, Mary E. Verging on the Abyss: The Social Fiction of Kate Chopin and Edith Wharton. Contributions in Women's Studies 119. New York: Greenwood, 1990.
A biography and literary criticism of both Chopin's and Wharton's life and work.

Portales, Marco A. "The Characterization of Edna Pontellier and the Conclusion of Kate Chopin's The Awakening." Southern Studies 20.4 (1981): 425-436.
Explores the character of Edna and posits reasons for her suicide.

Ringe, Donald A. "Romantic Imagery." Culley 291-6.
Traces romantic imagery throughout The Awakening.

Roscher, Marina L. "The suicide of Edna Pontellier: An Ambiguous Ending?" Southern Studies 23 (1984): 289-98.
Explores reasons for Edna's suicide in an Jungian aspect and holds that while the suicide is complex it is not really ambiguous. The reasoning behind the suicide, according to Roscher, makes The Awakening a forerunner to modern poetic novels.

Rosowski, Susan J. "The Awakening as a Prototype of the Novel of Awakening." Koloski 26-33
Compares Edna's developmental pattern to that of the bildungsroman, the quest, and the fairy tale.

Schulz, Dieter. "Notes Toward a fin-de-siecle Reading of Kate Chopin's The Awakening." American Literary Realism 25.3 (1993) 69-76.
Traces the fin-de-siecle qualities in The Awakening and maintains that Edna never fully reaches the end of her search for selfhood.

Seyersted, Per. Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1969.
A critical biography which has been credited with revitalizing Chopin studies.

- - -. "Kate Chopin and the American Realists." Culley 180-6.
Explores The Awakening and realism by comparing the text to four seminal realistic and naturalistic works.

Shaw, Patrick W. "Shifting Focus in Kate Chopin's The Awakening."Southern Studies 1 (1990): 211-23.
Explores the narrative structure of The Awakening and the ways in which Chopin controls the reader's vision.

Showalter, Elaine. Sister's Choice: Tradition and Change in American Women's Writing. Oxford: Claredon Press, 1991.
Explores American women's writings via a feminist perspective.

- - -. "Tradition and the Female Talent: The Awakening as a Solitary Book." Martin 33-55.
Maintains that Chopin was a transitionary writer and created a solitary character position between two different social choices.

Skaggs, Peggy. "Three Tragic Figures in Kate Chopin's The Awakening." Louisiana Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the South 4 (1974): 345-64.
Maintains that Adele, Mlle. Reisz, and Edna all are tragic women who fail to achieve their full identity. Adele and Mlle. Reisz settle, but Edna commits suicide because she is unable to do so.

- - -. "The Awakening's Relationship with American Regionalism, Romanticism, Realism, and Naturalism." Koloski 80-5.
Traces elements of The Awakening through four different literary movements.

Solomon, Barbara H. "Characters as Foils to Edna." Koloski 114-19.
Traces various foils to Edna in the novel and explores their meaning.

Spangler, George M. "Kate Chopin's The Awakening: A Partial Dissent." Novel: A Forum on Fiction 3 (1970): 249-55.
Explores why Edna's suicide fails to be a convincing or suitable end to the novel.

Stange, Margit. "Personal Property: Exchange Value and the Female Self in The Awakening." Genders 5 (1989): 106-19.
Applies the concepts of motherhood via early feminist philosophy and asserts that self-ownership is Edna's goal and ultimately leads to her suicide.

Stone, Carole. "The Female artist in Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Birth and creativity." Women's Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 13.1-2 (1986): 23-32.
Reads The Awakening as a bildungsroman and focuses upon Edna as an artist.

Toth, Emily. "A New Biographical Approach." Koloski 60-6.
Provides a brief outline of Chopin's life and relates relevant portions to The Awakening.

- - -. Kate Chopin. New York: William Morrow, 1990 .
An excellent and lengthy biography of the writer.

Umstead-Radcliff, Douglas. "Literature of Deliverance: Images of Nature in The Awakening." Southern Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of The South 2 (1990): 127-47
. Traces the ways Kate Chopin uses nature and natural symbols to structure The Awakening as a narrative.

Urgo, Joseph R. "A Prologue to Rebellion: The Awakening and the Habit of Self-expression." The Southern Literary Journal 20.1 (1987): 22-32.
Maintains that The Awakening is about Edna's need to be the narrator of her own life. His theory is that she needs to learn to narrate and without that skill, she is made mute.

Webb, Bernice Larson. "Four Points of Equilibrium in The Awakening." The South Central Bulletin 4 (1982): 148-51.
Proposes that the novel is structured in a circular manner with four points of balance.

Ziff, Larzer. The American 1890's: Life and Times of a Lost Generation. New York: Viking, 1966.
A historical approach to the literary production of the last decade of the eighteen-hundreds.

Neal Wyatt (1995)  [contact at]
Kate Chopin Study Text