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Amelia E. Barr, ‘The Modern Novel’. It is the erotic-sensational novel which deserves unqualified anger and disgust, for it is the representation, by genius, of a society that lives for the gratification of its five senses, and that only. Introduction.
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Amelia E. Barr, ‘The Modern Novel’ It is the erotic-sensational novel which deserves unqualified anger and disgust, for it is the representation, by genius, of a society that lives for the gratification of its five senses, and that only.
Introduction • Sensational novel: literary genre in 1860s and 70s • Sexual relationships...served as a social criticism...supplant older paradigms and challenge conventional theories. • Merged exotic foreignness, which was the Victorian assumption of where sensational events took place, with the familiar, middle class domestic settings
Mrs Barr Criticism • ‘She is very smart and clever, but...she makes us sigh for the girls...who yet had no higher ambition than to be the dearly loved wife of a noble-hearted man and the good house-mother of happy children.’ • Societal Norms at the time • Lust being a strong Emotion emphasised throughout the novel. • Women are distracted from their roles.
The power of literature in relation to the human condition • Elvis Presley’s performance was a danger to the US because his “actions and motions were such as to rouse the sexual passions of teenaged youth.” • ‘...Mrs Pontellier was not a mother-woman...They were women who idolized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals...Her name was Adèle Ratignolle.’
‘When it came her turn to read it...She felt moved to read the book in secret and solitude; though none of the others had done so...It was openly criticised and freely discussed at table.’ • The moon was coming up, and its mystic shimmer was casting a million lights across the distant, restless water.’ • Chopin allows the readers to wonder and uses sensual imagery to aid in their imagination.
Seven Deadly Sins • “drowsiness overcame Edna during the service”- • “…seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamouring…inviting the soul to wander…the voice of the sea speaks to the soul”. • “she seemed to be reaching out for the unlimited in which to lose herself”. • -“…strange, rare odours abroad- a tangle of the sea smell and of weeds…new-plowed earth…”.
Metaphor and Imagery • Voice, smell and touch of the sea: The ocean’s link to Edna's awakening • Nature: Warmth of the sun, the moonlight, the breeze • Food: Colours and luxury of feasts • Music: Reisz’s playing aroused her soul, made her tremble • Affair with Arobin, passion with Robert
Conclusion • Satisfaction from Awakening pushes women away from their predetermined duties and morals. • In order for us to learn something we must first be capable of experiencing it. • For Edna, her senses are fundamental to her world, they mediate between her mind and body, and between herself and the environment, as she relies on her senses to interpret her changing surroundings.