On The Awakening and Spending Time Alone

Posted January 28, 2012 by LeahAdmin in Discussions / 3 Comments

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

I recently finished reading The Awakening for my Modern American Lit class, and I really loved it.  Apart from being revolutionary for it’s time — a woman who has sex out of wedlock and doesn’t get pregnant? What?! — it’s really beautifully written.

Take my favorite line from the novel. As Edna begins distancing herself from her husband and abandoning her womanly duties, she takes to walking through the streets of New Orleans, enjoying the sunlight and the warm fresh air. Chopin writes,

“She discovered many a sunny, sleepy corner, fashioned to dream in. And she found it good to dream and to be alone and unmolested.”

Besides being an absolutely gorgeous phrase, it has such an absolute ring of truth to it. Because who doesn’t want to spend some time alone dreaming sometimes? Probably my favorite part of the day (on the days I don’t have class until 11 a.m.) is the hour I have all to myself in the morning. The apartment is empty and peaceful, and it just feels so good, so refreshing to sit quietly with my coffee and granola bar and read my book. The rest of the day is hectic with class, my internship, and the combination of coursework/friends/boyfriend in the evening, and that small amount of time I can spend “unmolested” in the morning is really important to me.

We live in such a crazy world, where we have to be ‘on’ all the time. As a college student, I’m expected to excel in my classes, work a part-time job, impress my internship supervisor, participate in a myriad of activities that will hopefully make me look attractive to employers in three months, keep up with the news, and be all over Twitter and the blogosphere. And it’s not just me; there’s a lot expected out of everyone. We have to be informed, be credible, be the best. It’s a lot to handle.

This just makes it feel all the more wonderful to spend some time in blissful solitude, to unwind and just give in to your self. And you deserve that. So put your laptop in the other room and turn your phone on silent. Make yourself a cup of tea and curl up in your own “sunny, sleepy corner, fashioned to dream in.” Reflect on your day, read a book, paint your nails — heck, paint a picture — and just relax. You will feel so much better.

  • I too value my alone time — not all the time of course, but just as Chopin and you describe: for an hour, to gather my thoughts and dream. 🙂 Great post. I love The Awakening and need to reread it. The writing throughout is just exquisite and so… ethereal.

    • I value my time alone a lot too. I still live with my parents and brother, so when the three of them go out and leave the house all for myself, I feel… free? I can do anything and in silence. For me, introspection and thinking are important part of every day.

      • Having some quiet time for introspection each day is so important! It’s so nice to unwind, gather your thoughts, and organize your mind. I think it’s probably good for your mental health, too.