The Awakening

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The Awakening shocked turn-of-the-century readers with its forthright treatment of sex and suicide. Departing from literary convention, Kate Chopin failed to condemn her heroine's desire for an affair with the son of a Louisiana resort owner, whom she meets on vacation. The power of sensuality, the delusion of ecstatic love, and the solitude that accompanies the trappings of middle- and upper-class life are the themes of this now-classic novel. As Kaye Gibbons points out in her Introduction, Chopin "was writing American realism before most Americans could bear to hear that they were living it." (From feedbooks.com)
Curriculet Details
96 Questions
49 Annotations
8 Quizzes

The transformation of Edna Pontellier unfolds delicately and beautifully in Kate Chopin’s early feminist book. As students witness Edna’s awakening, their comprehension is supported by rich media annotations portraying the setting and explaining local dialect and cultural norms, rhetorical questions that ask them to probe Edna’s psyche, and interactive videos explaining concepts such as irony and conflict. Common Core aligned questions and quizzes ask students to examine the themes of the individual (specifically, woman) versus society, madness and gender, transformation, and alienation/isolation. This free digital unit is designed for students in 11-12th grade.

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The Awakening Chapters 1-2

Allez vous-en is a French phrase meaning "Go away!" 
You will often need to use textual evidence to answer questions in a text. Watch this video to learn about different types of textual evidence.  (This annotation contains a video)
Grand Isle is a town in Louisiana.  
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The first few pages of the book mostly focus on 
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Upon first impression, the Pontelliers seem to have a ___________ marriage. 
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According to the narrator, why do Robert and Mrs. Pontellier talk about themselves? 
This is the French Quarter, in New Orleans. (This annotation contains an image)
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This book takes place in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century. There is a heavy French influence in this part of the country, which you can see in several aspects of the book. Which of the following is NOT one of them? 

The Awakening Chapters 3-4

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This is the first sign of troubled emotions in the book. Léonce Pontellier feels 
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Either Raoul actually had a fever, or Mr. Pontellier was giving his wife a hard time on purpose. Which of the two do you think happened in the previous scene, and why?  
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The highlighted sentence contains 
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What is revealed of Mr. Pontellier's character in this chapter? 
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In your own words, please summarize the meaning of this first sentence in Chapter 4. 
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On the surface and at first glance, what is the difference between Madame Ratignolle and Mrs. Pontellier?  
Louisiana Creole people refers to those who are descended from the colonial settlers in Louisiana, especially those of French and Spanish descent. The term was first used during colonial times by the early French settlers to refer to those who were born in the colony, as opposed to those born in the Old World. 
Chapters 1-4 Quiz 

The Awakening Chapters 5-6

Characters develop over the course of a novel; this video will tell you about some of the different ways authors reveal character.  (This annotation contains a video)
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How old is Robert now? 
This means "prankster, joker, fat beast, go!" 
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How does Robert behave differently with Madame Ratignolle and Mrs. Pontellier? 
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What does this sentence suggest Mrs. Pontellier thinks of Madame Ratignolle's "spell"? 
The repetition of the image of the sea is noteworthy. For further exploration of imagery, watch the following video. (This annotation contains a video)

The Awakening Chapters 7-8

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What is meant by "the outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions"? 
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The previous two paragraphs describe the ______________ of Madame Ratignolle and Mrs. Pontellier. 
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The words "wind," "whipped," and "water" together exemplify which of the following literary devices? 
This means "You poor thing." 
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What is the difference between an accident and fate? Which, if either, do you believe in? 
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How does Edna feel about her children? 
This means "There's Mrs. Ratignolle, who is jealous!" 
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Why do you think Madame Ratignolle told Robert that Mrs. Pontellier "is not one of us; she is not like us. She might make the unfortunate blunder of taking you seriously"? 
This likely refers to a book by the French writer Edmond de Goncourt. 
The Lebrun family (Madame Lebrun and her sons, Robert and Victor) operate the resort where the Pontellier family is vacationing. 

The Awakening Chapters 9-10

Why do you think the husbands are away during the weekdays? 
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Double click on the word "impetuous" and you will see the word's definition. Please use the word "impetuous" in a sentence of your own below. 
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This sentence contains  
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What does this image that Edna contrives say about her? Explain your answer using textual references. 
Chapters 5-9 Quiz 
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This sentence tells us that 
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Which of the following emotions did NOT pass through Edna while she was out in the ocean? 
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In your own words, please explain what Madame Lebrun means by this statement. 
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How do you think Robert's comments make Edna feel?  
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What does the term "pregnant with the first-felt throbbings of desire" tell you about what's going on under the surface of this scene? 

The Awakening Chapters 11-13

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In the highlighted text, Mr. Pontellier shows that he is frustrated with his wife ________________. 
This is a good time to remember the title of the book and consider what is gestures towards. 
This statement offers a clear look into the internal condition of Edna Pontellier. The narrator tells us that Edna is not looking inside or outside of herself for direction, but rather she is following her gut. Earlier, Edna was described as "capricious" which means moody or whimsical. Her capriciousness will likely grow as she "blindly" follows her impulses. 
Cheniere is the church on Grand Isle. 
The lady in black who counts her beads is probably counting rosary beads and praying. 
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In your own words, please describe how Edna was transformed the night before. How is she different now than she was before her swim in the ocean? 
A pirogue is a kind of boat. (This annotation contains an image)
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In your own words, please explain what this sentence means. 
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The sights and sounds described in this paragraph are part of the _____________ of the novel. 
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The tone of the conversations between Edna and Robert are often 
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This simile compares ________________ to _________________. 
Chapters 10-13 Quiz 

The Awakening Chapters 14-15

A mosquito bar or net is draped over a bed to protect its occupant from mosquito bites at night. (This annotation contains an image)
This means "Ah! If only you knew." 
Like most novelists, Kate Chopin uses similes and metaphors to express ideas. This video will describe the differences between these two literary devices.  (This annotation contains a video)
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"Edna's face was a blank picture of bewilderment" is  
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What literary device does this line contain? 
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The lady is black is 
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List the textual evidence which illustrates that Edna is upset about the sudden news of Robert's departure for Mexico. 
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What is going on under the surface between Edna and Robert? 
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This sentiment contains a 

The Awakening Chapters 16-17

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How does Edna seek to conjure up Robert in his absence? 
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How could Edna give up her life but not herself for her children? Try to make sense out of this, try to figure out how this could be possible for her. 
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Which son does Madame Lebrun favor more? 
Esplanade Street is a historic street in New Orleans.  (This annotation contains an image)
Things like this were a big deal during the time Kate Chopin was writing. To learn about the cultural norms at the time Chopin was writing, watch this video.  (This annotation contains a video)
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Why is Mr. Pontellier making such a fuss over the missed callers? He does have a reason, whether Edna agrees with it or not; what is it? 
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What do these details tell us about Edna's emotions right now? 

The Awakening Chapters 18-20

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What does it mean for the world to become "antagonistic"? 
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Mr. Ratignolle owns a  
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Madame Ratignolle ________________ Edna in this paragraph. 
Salt of the earth means someone of great worth and reliability. 
Chapters 14-18 Quiz 
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Please use the word "submissiveness" in a sentence of your own creation. 
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Which of the following phrases contains a simile? 
Tone and mood are two literary devices you should be familiar with, especially given the striking tone of this novel. This video will explain more.  (This annotation contains a video)
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Why do you think Edna is seeking Mademoiselle Reisz out as a companion? What is it about Reisz that makes Edna want to reunite with her? 
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Victor is 
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What literary device does this sentence contain? 

The Awakening Chapters 21-23

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This sentence contains 
There are three types of irony: dramatic, situational, and verbal. This video explains verbal irony.  (This annotation contains a video)
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Please explain why the phrase "always contented" is ironic. 
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Please explain the subtext of this line. 
This gives a hint at why Edna and Mademoiselle Reisz are fond of each other. To learn more about the characters' interactions watch this video: (This annotation contains a video)
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The term "resting on his laurels" is  
This comment reveals a bit about what the Doctor thinks might be wrong with Edna.  
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Please use the word "idiosyncrasies" in a sentence of your own. 
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Edna's father is 
This comment makes it clear that the Pontellier's marital struggles are not a secret. 
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Which of the following is NOT something that Mr. and Mrs. Pontellier have differing opinions about? 
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What does this made-up story reveal about Edna? 
Earlier in the book, when Madame Ratignolle was warning Robert to stay away from Edna on the beach in Grand Isle, Robert responded with this: "Now if I were like Arobin–you remember Alcee Arobin and that story of the consul’s wife at Biloxi?" And he related the story of Alcee Arobin and the consul’s wife; and another about the tenor of the French Opera, who received letters which should never have been written; and still other stories, grave and gay, till Mrs. Pontellier and her possible propensity for taking young men seriously was apparently forgotten." Clearly Alcee Arobin has a reputation for inappropriate interactions with women. This may or may not foreshadow an event down the line in the book; you'll have to read on to find out. 

The Awakening Chapters 24-25

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So far, Leonce Pontellier has sought maritial advice from two people, Edna's father and the Doctor. How does Edna's father's advice differ from the Doctor's advice? 
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What does this comment reveal about the Colonel and his wife (Edna's mother)? 
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Which of the following best defines the term "children of the pavement"? 
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement just before Edna's time. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a critic of the countervailing pressures of society, so it is appropriate that Edna is reading his work.  (This annotation contains an image)
Chapters 19-24 Quiz 
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What impresses Arobin about Edna? 
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This means that Miss Highcamp is a ____________ piano player. 
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The narrator mentions excitement coming back upon Edna, gesturing towards another time in the past when she felt this way. Using textual evidence, please state when Edna felt this kind of excitement before? 
This word has weight, being both the title and one of the themes of this novel. 
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This lines tells us that Alcee Arobin is 

The Awakening Chapters 26-29

This should remind you of Robert, who once also doted on Edna without much encouragement from her. 
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Mademoiselle Reisz isn't surprised by this news; are you? Please explain your answer. 
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What literary device does this line contain? 
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What is Edna saying about love in this paragraph? 
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Mademoiselle Reisz is using a _____________ to describe Edna in this quote. 
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In your own words, please describe Edna's current internal conflict. 
Conflict is an essential part of literature, and this video will tell you more about the two different kinds of conflict: internal and external.  (This annotation contains a video)
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How, specifically, do you think Leonce Pontellier will react when he returns and finds his wife has moved out? 
This image of Edna is one of feminine strength. Notice that Alcee finds her beautiful... self-possessed and independent and taking matters, quite literally, into her own hands. 
A coup d'état is the sudden overthrow of a government. It is considered successful when the usurpers establish their dominance. When the coup neither fails completely nor succeeds, a civil war is a likely consequence. Arobin never answers Edna's questions about why he calls her move a "coup d'état" but can you imagine why he would?  

The Awakening Chapters 30-31

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What is striking about this list of people present? 
Garnet is a dark red color. The color red symbolizes strong emotions. Red can symbolize excitement, energy, speed, strength, danger, passion, and aggression. Red is also the color of blood and fire, and represents life and vitality. 
The blooms of a jessamine vine are pictured below. (This annotation contains an image)
"Bien souffrante" means "very ill" and also literally translates to "suffering well."  
This means "Good night, my queen, be well-behaved." 
These lyrics, which mean "Oh! If only you knew..." upset Edna because Robert used to sing this song. In fact, one night after he sang to her, is was written, "Robert’s voice was not pretentious. It was musical and true. The voice, the notes, the whole refrain haunted her memory." 
Chapters 25-30 Quiz 
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Why would Edna be disheartened now? 
Alcee is pushy in this scene, and you can imagine that Edna's fatigue and mounting confusion (what she's doing is a big deal) are not helped by his pushiness. 

The Awakening Chapters 32-33

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How did Mr. Pontellier's decision to have the house remodeled "save appearances"? 
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Please use the word "foreboding" in a sentence of your own. 
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In what ways is Edna like a child? 
Vingt–et–un is the game twenty-one, a card game also known as blackjack. 
This moment of auditory imagery could not be more appropriate; the discordant sounds Robert accidentally makes on the piano mirror the discordant feelings Edna expresses in the following paragraph. 
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Do you think Robert is responsible for Edna's awakening? What role does he play in the changes she's undergone throughout the novel? 
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The condition of the Pontellier house mirrors the condition of 
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Robert seems 

The Awakening Chapters 34-36

Think back to Grand Isle. At the time, what happened between Robert and Edna was nothing special; she hardly acknowledged him, and he took the same kind of interest in her as he took in other women in years past. Their connection has only become special in Edna's mind in hindsight; she has romanticized the memory of the past and turned it into something new, and it has become her obsession. 
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This line contains 
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Do you think Alcee Arobin is sincere when he says things like this? Please explain your answer using examples from the text. 
Chapters 34-36 Quiz 
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In your own words, please explain what "friendly evasiveness" is. 
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"Stone step in the sun" exemplifies which of the following literary devices. 
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Why does Edna think she and Robert have run into each other in this garden? 
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Please use the word "reverie" in a sentence of your own. 
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This statement ________________  Edna's insecurity about Robert's interest in her. 
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This conversation of Edna's belonging to a man, either Robert or Leonce, versus belonging to herself, touches upon the theme of 

The Awakening Chapters 37-39

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Which of the following lines contains a simile? 
Madame Ratignolle is in labor in this scene.  
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Madame Ratignolle seems more bothered by the feeling of ____________________ than anything. 
This line gestures towards one of the themes of the book. There is a lot unsaid in the book, a lot to infer, but this statement of Edna's is among the most straightforward of her statements that address her own internal conflict. 
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What do you think this note means; what is the subtext, the unspoken message? 
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The _____________ has changed. We are now back in Grand Isle. 
This is a new and interesting take on Edna, as seen from the eyes of another woman who is not a part of the same "society" and Edna. Mariequita sees Edna as a woman who has "all the men in New Orleans at her feet." Is this true? Do you see Edna that way? 
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We have hardly seen Edna interact with her children, and she has thought of them little; this is not a story where Edna's children (literally) play a big role. But this line suggests that they do play a role inside of her, or rather what they represent plays a big role in Edna's internal world. How are Edna's children like antagonists to her?  
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This line contains 
Remember earlier when we mentioned that the sea is a symbol... Think of that now and as you finish the book.  
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Please take a look at this timeline of Kate Chopin's life and name at least TWO things Chopin has in common with Edna.http://www.pbs.org/katechopin/chronology.html 
Chapters 35-39 Quiz