Kate Chopin 's The Awakening

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Commonly explored throughout her works, the idea of marriage inhibiting a woman’s freedom is the driving force behind Kate Chopin’s contextual objections to propriety. In particular, The Awakening and “The Story of an Hour” explore the lives of women seeking marital liberation and individuality. Mrs. Chopin, who was raised in a matriarchal household, expresses her opposition to the nineteenth century patriarchal society while using her personal experiences to exemplify her feminist views. Katherine O’Flaherty, later Kate Chopin, was born to Eliza and Thomas O’Flaherty in St. Louis, Missouri on February 8, 1850 (Deter). Unfortunately, when Mrs. Chopin was four, her father died in a train incident leaving her under the care of three independent widows’- her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother (Deter). Mrs. Chopin’s great-grandmother, Victoria Verdon Charleville, directed her education, “giving her a taste of the culture and freedom allowed by the French that many Americans during this time disapproved of . . . through the art of storytelling” (Deter). Therefore, much of Mrs. Chopin’s success in writing about women pursuing morality, freedom, and political independence can be attributed to Victoria. Furthermore, the teachers at the St. Louis Sacred Heart Academy, a school Mrs. Chopin’s father had previously enrolled her in, “exposed her to Catholic teachings devoted to creating good wives and mothers, while also teaching independent thinking” (“Biography”).

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