Kate Chopin: A Woman Ahead of Her Time

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Abandoned by friends due to her supposed ‘immoral’ works, Kate Chopin was a mind ahead of her time. Stuck in the strict 1800s, her expressions of loathing marriage and sexual freedom in the lives of women were less than ideal to their modern culture (Chopin, “The Story of an Hour” 2241-2243). Her writings often consisted of marriage being below dreams of music and art, and even love not being able to hold a marriage together (Davis 62). The reality of these ideas compromised Chopin’s short stories and novels; the feeling of repression of women and the crushing restraint of marriage (Anderson et al. 480)
Born as Katherine O’Flaherty in St. Louis, Missouri, she was daughter to an Irish father and French mother who often encouraged her
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Désirée found herself disgraceful, thinking she was “cursed with the brand of slavery” herself, and along with her child (Chopin, “Désirée’s Baby” 573). With the story The Awakening, Edna Pontellier is a married woman who never really conformed to the socially acceptable format for women during her time. She taught herself down to swim while at a vacation house that most of the story takes place at, though she becomes scared swimming into the sea and goes back to shore. With these days, she meets a man, Robert, who is not her husband, and skips a church mass with him to spend an “idyllic day together” (Chopin, “The Awakening” 52). However, as flirty as Robert seems to be, he cannot find himself wrapped up in an affair with a married woman and leaves to Mexico. Edna returns to their home with her husband, but she continues to explore her freedom. She breaks many social codes, and at one crucial moment, takes off her wedding band and throws it on the ground, stomping on it. From this moment on, she shows a great distaste to marriage and even makes a comment after refusing to attend her sister’s wedding, in which she says: “A wedding is one of the most lamentable spectacles on Earth” (Chopin, “The Awakening” 52). Soon, Edna’s husband notices these changes in behavior. He calls a doctor who simply dismisses her changes as only being moody, and that she will be normal again soon. Not
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