Kate Chopin was born Katherine O’Flaherty on February 8, 1851, in St. Louis Missouri, into a family with roots in the French of both St. Louis and New Orleans. Her mother Eliza Faris was a familiar figure in exclusive social circles. According to the Gale Literary Database, “Chopin’s father, Thomas O’Flaherty, was an Irish immigrant who had successfully established himself as a merchant and subsequently participated in various business ventures” (Gale 2). Tragedy struck Chopin’s life in 1855 when her father was killed in a train wreck on the Pacific Railroad that he helped build. After the incident, Kate and her mother moved in with her grandmother and great-grandmother. According to the Literary Reference Cente...
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...rectly correlates to this time period and to these exact issues.
In 1888, Kate Chopin wrote “The Awakening,” which became one of the most controversial forms of writing during this time period. Her novel was considered immoral not only for its depictions of female sexual desire but also for portraying a woman that went against the typical social and gender norms. When the book opens, Edna Pontellier is an obedient wife and mother vacationing at Grand Isle with her family. However, things begin to change as Edna becomes close to a man named Robert Lebrun. Before they act on their mutual romantic interest in each other, Robert leaves for Mexico. Edna is lonely without his companionship, but shortly after her return to New Orleans, she picks up the male equivalent of a mistress, Alcee Arobin. Although she does not love him, he awakens various sexual passions within her.
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