Controversial Views in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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Controversial Views in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

"Too strong a drink for moral babies, and should be labeled `poison'." was the how the Republic described Kate Chopin's most famous novel The Awakening (Seyersted 174). This was not only the view of one magazine, but it summarized the feelings of society as a whole. Chopin woke up people to the feelings and minds of women. Even though her ideas were controversial at first, slowly over the decades people began to accept them.

Kate O'Flaherty Chopin was raised in St. Louis in the 1850's and 1860's. Chopin had a close relationship with her French grandmother which lead to her appreciation of French writers. When she was only five Chopin's father, Thomas O'Flaherty died leaving her without a father figure. Eliza O'Flaherty, Chopin's mother, was from there on the head of the household. Chopin grew up knowing that women could be strong and intelligent and that they did not have to be submissive creatures (Skaggs 2). She loved her mother and considered her "A woman of great beauty, intelligence, and personal magnetism" (Seyersted 14).

Growing up around independent women, however, did not dissuade her from marriage. Her marriage to Oscar Chopin by all accounts was a happy one. Taking on the role of a high society lady as well as wife and new mother, Chopin fit in well with the New Orleans culture. She enjoyed the Louisiana atmosphere so well that most of her writings were based here. Chopin continued living in Louisiana raising her six young children until the sudden death of her husband brought her back to St., Louis (Skaggs 3).

Oscar Chopin died while their youngest child, Lelia was only three. Soon after Chopin moved her family to St. Louis to be with her dying ...

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...admiration, it is easy to see how far this nation has come.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. Kate Chopin. New York : Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.

Boren, Lynda S. and Sara DeSaussure Davis. Kate Chopin Reconsidered: Beyond the Bayou. Baton Rouge : Louisiana State UP, 1992.

Delaney, Bill. Masterpieces of Women's Literature. New York : Harper Collins Publishers, 1996.

Koloski, Bernard. Approaches to teaching Chopin's The Awakening. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1988.

Nickerson, Meagan. "Romanticism in The Awakening", The Kate Chopin Project. America On-line. February 2000.

Seyersted, Per. Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1969.

Skaggs, Peggy. Kate Chopin. Boston : Twayne Publishers, 1985.

Taylor, Helen. Gender, Race, and Region in the Writings of Grace King, Ruth McEnerys Stuart and Kate Chopin. Baton Rouge
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