AP English Literature and Composition
Journal Questions for Kate Chopin’s The Awakening
C. May / Marchand
Due Sept. 23
For each journal question, you should provide specific references to the text with page
numbers. A one page response (per question) is typical, but you may find you need more
space to write out your thoughts. I will assess the journal responses for development and
support, not correctness. The only loss of points due to incorrectness will come from not
responding to the question (e.g. if I ask for tone and you never provide one) or
responding with the wrong device (e.g. if I ask for an archetype and you give me a motif
or theme instead). Take risks and work to expand your analytical skills by supporting
your ideas. Each response in this journal is worth 5 points.
1. From
NA R R A TOR · Anonymous; seems to align with Chopin herself
POINT OF VIE W · The novel is narrated in the third person, but the narrator
frequently makes clear her sympathy for and support of Edna.
TONE · For the most part, the tone is objective, although it occasionally reveals
support for the female independence and sexual and emotional awareness
symbolized in Edna’s awakening.
Why is this point of view necessary in developing characterization and
establishing tone? Show with at least two specific references to the text that
clearly show why this point of view is necessary.
Also, support or refute the claim that the tone is “objective.” Again make sure to
support your position with specific text examples.
2. Trace (write down page numbers where found) the archetypal motif of the sea
throughout the novel. How does this motif contribute to your overall
understanding of the work? Trace one more archetype that, in conjunction with
the sea archetype, further enhances the meaning of the work as a whole.
3. Develop one relationship Edna shares with another character. Establish the
purpose of this relationship and how it enhances Edna’s characterization.
4. How does the setting influence the structure and theme of the work? What
literary devices does Chopin use to enhance the meaning of the setting?
5. Compare Oedipus the King and The Awakening. What parallels are evident?
How do these parallels allow the reader to better understand each text?
6. From
“Concurrent to Edna’s sexual awakening is her determination for independence.
Instead of spending her days concerned with household matters, Edna pursues
her interest in painting. Rather than depending financially on her husband, Edna
moves into a house of her own. By the time Robert returns, professing his love for
Edna and his desire to someday marry her, Edna can no longer handle societal
strictures – particularly marriage. Without finishing the conversation about their
future, Robert leaves Edna. Heartbroken, she returns to Grand Isle. Once there,
she swims far out to sea and presumably drowns.”
Support the accurate portions of this statement with your own examples from the
text. Refute the inaccurate portions of this statement with your own examples
from the text.
7. From
“Q: Does Edna Pontellier have sex with Alcée Arobin in Chapter 27 of the novel?
A: Yes. The language in Chapter 27 reflects literary conventions of the 1890s.
Kate Chopin almost certainly would not have found a publisher for the novel if
she had included more sexually explicit phrasing.
Q: How many times (and where) did Alcée and Edna consummate their love?
A: There was no love involved (Chapter 28), but the text shows that Edna and
Alcée have sex in the house on Esplanade Street (Chapter 27) and again after the
party when they go to the pigeon-house (Chapter 31).”
To what “literary conventions” is the writer alluding? In other words, how does
the text “show” this sex if it’s not explicit?