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The Awakening By Kate Chopin

How does The Awakening speak to the roles of women and the conventions of literature at the end of the 19th century? How does Kate Chopin use other characters in The Awakening in order to cast Edna Pontellier's desires ­ and social limitations ­ in sharp relief? We are about to find out. In conjunction with a novel study of Kate Chopin's The Awakening, we will accomplish the following goals: Learn Kate Chopin's place in literary history. Define literary realism and discuss it as a style in American literature. Reflect on how culture and setting play an important role in a novel, especially in local color and regional literature. Analyze Edna Pontellier's character development specifically in relation to other characters in the novel and generally in relation to women's roles in 19th century America. What follows is an outline of assignments. Consider this your "syllabus" for the novel. Aside from these assignments, we will also engage in class discussion. Lesson One will precede our study of the novel. Lesson Two will occur after we have read seven chapters of the novel (date first seven chapters due: __________). As we explore the writing of other realist writers in class, your homework each night will be to read The Awakening. You should finish the novel in two weeks. As you read, we will discuss the novel in class. Be prepared for reading quizzes. After you finish, we will complete Lesson Three. Note: depending on time constraints we may take more than one class period to complete one individual lesson, or we may complete more than one lesson in an individual class period.

Lesson One: Chopin in Context

Notes on definition of realism and regionalism/local color; biography of Kate Chopin; introduction to the novel, including possibly unfamiliar words and phrases and Louisiana Creole culture.

Lesson Two: Realism and Regionalism Research

We will visit the computer lab and learn about American realism and regionalism. You will receive a separate handout with instructions for this web activity. With a partner, you will research the attributes of realism, local color, and/or regionalism. After you have completed the web portion of the activity, you will find a passage in the novel that exhibits one or more aspects of these styles. You will explain why the passage reflects

realism, local color, or regionalism. Read the passage closely, giving detailed evidence. You will present your passage and your findings to the class. After the presentations, you will take a 50-point large quiz/mini-test. You will be given a passage from the book and will be asked to "mine" it for realism, local color, setting, and how it effects the portrayal of Edna and her situation.

Lesson Three: Edna's Relationships

In this activity, you will track other characters in the novel and chart their relationship to Edna Pontellier. You will be given a chart to complete for this purpose. We will have a discussion about these characters. After the class discussion, you will write an out-ofclass essay on one of the following topics: How does The Awakening speak to the roles of women and the conventions of literature at the end of the 19th century? How does Kate Chopin use other characters in The Awakening in order to cast Edna Pontellier's desires ­ and social limitations ­ in sharp relief? How do male characters (Léonce Pontellier, Raoul and Etienne Pontellier, Robert Lebrun, and Alcée Arobin) help establish Edna's options in life? Does her relationship with any of them push her towards becoming like one of the other women in the novel? Essay due date: __________

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