A word of advice to all of my fellow readers. Never, ever, read the
introduction. I, by foolishly being maliciously tricked, have read it
and it has already ruined the ending of the book. This is not the
first time such has happened to me. I know I shouldn´t read an
introduction before a book, I do, yet in my gullible nature I fall for
it every time. I admit to myself I can be too trusting. Are you
familiar with the definition of the word insanity? It goes along the
lines of "to repeat the same act several times expecting a different
result". It is entirely possible that I am insane. I always read an
introduction, regret it, berate at it, curse at myself, then merrily
proceed to reading the next introduction of the next book. You might think I judge introduction too harshly. Well let me tell you, I have been lenient with introductions. I have given introductions first chances, second chances, third chances, fiftieth chances, all to no avail. I suppose some things will never change no matter how hard you will it so. Oh, the blasphemed introductions! You see, introductions deceive you with their name. Their beguiling smiles and promises of a scintillating and exciting glimpse into the story are only that- farse. For introductions are not introductions at all. They disguise themselves as introductions until it´s too late- you have read them and discoverd their true nature: They are vicious and malignant texts whose sole intent in life is to give away spoilers and just ruin your reading experience. I swear it to be true! Introductions should be read as epilogues. They have somehow cunningly managed to slitheringly sneak to the front of the book by the editors´ repeated mistakes (really, someone should tell them about this, it´s just unprofessional), but that is not their place! So a word of advice: Never read the introduction before the story itself.
P.S. One does not really need to read my whole text. To all of you
lazy people, the last sentence is enough to sum up my point
Thanks for posting this Marcia! I recommend everyone heeds Marcia´s warning, and treats the introduction as an epilogue.
The good news, however, is that the introduction doesn´t entirely destroy the work as a whole, merely its denouement. That being said, my own word of warning is as follows: don´t take Marilynne Robinson´s introduction as gospel. She is but one, lone critic, with a very particular vision of the objective behind Chopin´s ambiguous ending. Don´t let this bias your reading! Interpretation is both subjective and pluralistic by nature.
Despite Marcia´s self-proclaimed "insanity," remember that Emily Dickson declares, "Much Madness is divinest Sense,/ Much Sense the starkest Madness." In other words, insanity is a rather subjective paradox, highly dependent on both the perceiver and the perceived, as is literature itself!
Thanks for being such an "awakened" individual,
PS- It´s "blasphemous" ;-)
Thank you Ms. B. I admit I might have gotten carried away in my denouncing of introductions. The "blasphemous" introductions. To reassure all, I do not actually consider myself mad, again, that was just me getting carried away.
Seriously though, don't read the introductions.
As a response to Marcia: yes, dear, you are insane, but for other reasons!! :) (jusk kidding, but seriously, introductions are ALWAYS going to spoil a bit, stay away from them overall!)
[SPOILERS AHEAD. DO NOT PROCEED BEFORE FINISHING THE BOOK]
Although,as far as I know, introductions are usually supposed to be read before the book, this particular one should have been kept at the end of the story. It provides some insight on Kate Chopin's life as a writer, which puts the story into a new context. It also explains some of the symbolism, and the author's intentions when writing certain scenes. However, this introduction is pointless for those who haven't read the book! It spoils the ending and talks about characters and events without introducing them properly!!
However, reading it AFTER finishing the entirety of 'The Awakening', I found some facts quite interesting. For instance, I hadn't undertood that, in the final scene with the doctor, Madame Ratignolle was giving birth! Maybe it just slipped me! Did anyone else miss any ridiculously important detail like I did?!
Hahahaha. Sammy, Mrs. Ratignolle has always been pregnant! Remember she can't dance in the beginning of the novel because of it? But yeah, in the beginning of that part I thought she had caught some terrible disease and was dying. I admit to being a little confused.
P.S. I loved your gif or whatever!
I feel so embarassed right now!
I just assumed she had some health condition!!
(That kind of changes everything! Children are really a symbolism in this book and I missed some of it!)
Tittle: “To see the right and not to do is cowardice”-
I don’t care what other people may think, but I hate reading introductions. They are always spoilers, and obviously Marilynne Robison is the most biased of them all. Most times introductions tend to mold our own interpretations of the book, and you always end up wondering if the meanings you are getting throughout the book are a reflection from the interpretations that were previously exposed or from your own. However, I think that Robison’s connection of Edna to Emma was very interesting. You can even notice that their names are similar, as well as both seem to be influenced by the Realistic period. Reminding, as we saw in Portuguese Literature, that “Madame Bovary” was the first Realistic book. Interestingly, Gustave Flaubert was a man despite of it all referring to women in a feminist manner; while Chopin was a woman herself that felt those emotions. Wouldn’t you consider this ironic? kkkkkk
Anyways, I definitely agree with you Sammy, kids are a symbolism in this book. Apparently Edna had two choices at the end: or she lived in name of her children being oppressed by society, or she killed herself as a way of establishing her identity, however leaving the children alone in this world. As Edna said to the Doctor, “one has to think of the children” (Chopin 153), she declares that she knows she has a duty towards her kin due to the personification of “Nature”. In spite of all of Edna’s “unwomanly” actions, she loves her children, yet she loves her new self more. But if you ruminate a little bit, wouldn’t it be cowardice of Edna to have killed herself instead of divorcing and fighting for her suffrage rights in the 1800`s society? Wouldn’t that sound more logical? After all, that’s what great elite women did at the time, such as Alva Vanderbilt. Maybe we can interpret Edna’s actions as one of fear at the end, instead of bravery. Or maybe Chopin is trying to confuse us purposely. How do you interpret Edna’s end?
Hey, I was just surfing the internet around some blogs when I ran into this
and it really reminded me of Edna's attitude! It's from a movie called 'Possessed', which I've never watched and am not really sure what it regards, but the specific scene in this gifset instantly made me think of Edna :)
Are you talking about the "Possessed" terror movie that talks about a girl that has been possessed by a jewish demon (Abizu)? I am confused...
I don't know, I have never watched the movie, but this scene, taken OUT OF ITS CONTEXT, whatever it may be, reminded me of Edna. That's what I meant, sorry if I wasn't clear! :)
Don't worry Sammy, it is a terrible movie anyways, at least the new version is. According to the new version, the woman is acting like that because she is possessed, and not because she has a mind of her own to fight her husband. THIS IS SOOOO SEXISTTTT!!!
"Looking on the Bright Side"
Gabby, Samantha is saying that this girl's attitude reminds her of Edna as she is asserting her independence, saying she will not succumb to following a man’s orders for she is a free human being, and not a pet whatsoever. It’s not the concept of the movie in general, but the attitudes of this girl at that specific moment.
Anyway, I was, like Marcia, fooled into reading the introduction before reading the end of the book. However, it did not make me annoyed at all, I actually enjoy being aware of what will happen, because it makes me more attentive to details, which I would very probably miss if I didn’t know what will happen later in the book. It is something that I feel serves to assist me into noticing with greater ease things such as foreshadowing, the meaning of some of the character's actions, thoughts, etc. Not to mention that, even though I did feel the introduction was biased, this has only been helping me to compare my conclusions with those of Marilynne Robinson, making me feel more confident when I reach a consensus to the meaning of some passages in the book.
Estranged for her so-called "vulgar" and "morbid" work, Kate Chopin was a writer far ahead of her time. Click here to visit the Kate Chopin International Society.