Invite students to unpack and engage with Kate Chopin's 1899 novel.
About the text
Published in 1899, The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young woman from Kentucky who marries into an upper-class Creole family in New Orleans, Louisiana. As Edna becomes increasingly alienated from the domestic demands of marriage and motherhood, she meets a young man who offers her a glimpse of an alternate path, one of her own choosing. Biographer Per Seyerstead writes that with The Awakening, Kate Chopin “broke new ground in American literature… revolting against tradition and authority; with a daring which we can hardly fathom today.” The Awakening transcends its historical setting as it speaks to women’s agency and desire, issues which remain fraught in contemporary society.
Invitations to Create
Finding ways to engage students in the reading of classic texts can be difficult, particularly when so much teaching and learning is happening remotely. Invitations to Create — a method from our Literacy Unbound initiative, which reinvigorates students and teachers through project-based, collaborative curricula developed around challenging texts, ultimately increasing student engagement and building classroom community in the process — offer engaging multimedia prompts that are designed to support students in their reading and understanding of a shared piece of literature. Each invitation offers an opportunity to reflect, analyze, and synthesize the text at hand.
Our Invitations to Create provide key opportunities for educators to move students from talking about the text to experiencing the text. Through Invitations to Create, students can feel the story in ways that might not otherwise be possible — they can talk from within a text, and speak directly from the perspective of the characters. This process allows rich meaning-making to happen, and will allow you and your students to find ways to experience literature together, even while apart.
Each invitation is focused on a meaningful quote that our team identified as a hotspot for further thinking, discussion, and creation. Additionally, the hotspots are accompanied by multimedia connections such as photographs of the New Orleans landscape, maps from the 1890s, audio clips of the quotes, and connections to current events or related media. These connections are meant to inspire further thinking, engagement, and curiosity for students while they're reading. Who is Edna? Why is she struggling with being a wife and mother, and is the end inevitable?
To access additional free K-12 resources from our team, please visit our Resources page.