Reread the Awakening

I was never into the idea of re-reading and re-watching. I knew many of my literature folks love re-reading their favorite books, and many of my movie folks like re-watching movies. They do that in their good days, and even more so on their bad days. When you read something or watch something the first time and they gave you a good feeling, you would love to re-watch and re-read that wonderful thing, looking for that good feeling again. Especially, on bad days, since you know exactly what feeling that old book or movie delivered, you looked for it to soothe yourself. I don’t do that often. And I’m not that pretentious to say things like I don’t feel sad or doing those things are for the weaks. I’m saying, when I’m sad, I would rather just sit there and cry. I don’t read books to soothe myself. That’s just me.

I read when I’m relaxed and I have time. And just like everyone else in this world right now, nobody has enough time. So I want to spend those few spare moments to read more and read something new. Same with movies. I rarely ever have an urge to re-read or re-watch anything much. But, I’m here to talk about an exception. And I don’t re-read that book for sadness or happiness either. I re-read that book because I grew.

When I was 17, I read the Awakening by Kate Chopin. To simplify, the book is about a woman who supposedly had everything well and right: she came from a good family and then married into a good family. She had a kind husband, but he was often occupied with work. She was friend with a more modern and open woman who taught her things that she couldn’t imagine a woman could do. She then drew and played piano, exploring her own self interest. She had an intense affair with a young playboy guy, who eventually left her. In the end, the book was had an open ended ending with her jumping into the water and contemplating suicide.

I came from a very happy family with a loving mother and father. We were not perfect, but my parents were there. I also left home for school when I was 16. All I could think of was if there was anyway I could go to school without having to leave my home I would definitely do that. And this woman, this woman in The Awakening chose to leave home for herself and for an affair. She was willing to leave her two small children behind. When I was 17, I remembered writing a full on essay disagreeing with what she chose.
I’m 27 now. It has been 10 years. And I sometimes thought about the book. Life had changed me. It changed the way I looked at the book. It changed the way I looked at her. I still don’t agree with all the choices she made but I understand much more about why she does what she does. And I appreciate that as a process of growing, of being less naive and knowing life isn’t as black and white as I used to think it is. And I would sometimes reread things to see how far I’ve come.

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