On publication, 'The Awakening' was almost unanimously condemned by literary critics. In the repressed atmosphere of late Victorian society, the story of a married woman who leaves the stifling control of husband and family to pursue independence and sexual fulfillment, was social and religious anathema. Chopin was expelled from the St Louis Fine Arts Club and the book removed from the shelves of the city's library. Later generations have been kinder. The realism, incisive social comments and honest depiction of both psychological tensions and female sexuality in 'The Awakening' are now all accepted as legitimate topics for a literary work. Kate Chopin's seminal book has become almost universally admired as a depiction of one woman's struggle for freedom, equality, and independence.