The Unconventional Kate Chopin Essays

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The Unconventional Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin, a female author in the Victorian Era, wrote a large number of short stories and poems. She is most famous for her controversial novel The Awakening in which the main character struggles between society's obligations and her own desires. At the time The Awakening was published, Chopin had written more than one hundred short stories, many of which had appeared in magazines such as Vogue. She was something of a literary “lioness" in St. Louis and had numerous intellectual admirers. Within weeks after publication of The Awakening, this social landscape that had appeared so serenely comfortable became anything but serene and anything but comfortable.

Of all things,
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When the Civil War broke out, Kate's brother George joined the Confederate Army. Kate's sentiments followed after the protection of her brother, and she became the "littlest rebel" in St. Louis (Thornton 2). Because of Kate's feelings about the Union, it shouldn't be too surprising that some of those sentiments survived into her adulthood. In much of her work, beginning with At Fault and continuing through such stories as "For Marse Chouchoute," and "The Benitous Slave," the black characters are portrayed as simple, childlike, and mindlessly devoted to their masters (Thornton 6). Even in "Desiree's Baby" (perhaps Chopin's best-known short work), racial injustice is a necessary background against which Chopin stages her deadly dramatic irony.

Between 1889 and 1894, many of Kate's famous works were written and published. Many of these were beginning to appear in familiar magazines across the country, making Chopin a nationally known author. A collection of short stories, Bayou Folk, was published. This famous series earned her glowing reviews and a great amount of literary success. "The Story Of an Hour" was written shortly after. This is one of Chopin's most unforgettable stories. Though Chopin herself never complained about her marriage, it is surely significant that this story about the fantasized freedom of a woman should come to her in the rush of literary success.

In April 1899, The

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