The Kiss Kate Chopin Analysis

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If one choses to settle are they still winning? The “character contests” in “The Kiss” by Kate Chopin lead Nathalie to settle with the rich Brantain rather than Harvy, the man she loves. “Character contests” are what shape our daily life. Described by sociologist Erving Goffman, he argues that a “character contest” isn’t just an external conflict; “character contests” shape our perception of ourselves and others. Nathalie’s personal sense of identity is changed as an outcome of the character contests in “The Kiss” by Kate Chopin because of her failure to manipulate both Harvy and Brantain. Her decision to settle for Brantain reveals that she ultimately cares more about society’s perception of her rather than love. Harvy’s kiss in the first…show more content…
According to the Textbook, “Whenever individuals ask for or give excuses, proffer or recieve compliments… a contest of self-control can result” (TB 42-43). In second scene of “The Kiss” when Nathalie is apologizing to Brantain she says, “‘but for my own sake I do want you to understand that Mr. Harvy is an intimate friend of long standing. Why, we have always been like cousins-like brother and sister’” (Chopin 20). Nathalie’s main excuse to Brantain as to why Harvy kissed her was that her and Harvy were like siblings and the kiss wasn’t romantic, which is contrary to what Brantain clearly saw. Nathalie is testing her self-control, or her lack of self-control. She is lying to Brantain in order to aquire his wealth, wealth which she needs in order to perceived highly in society. If Nathalie marries Harvy, she wouldn’t be as rich as if she were to marry Brantain, and her social status wouldn’t be as high. Nathalie’s lack of self-control and her excuse filled dialogue show the lengths to which Nathalie will go in order to have a good image in…show more content…
When talking about the outcome of character contests, the Textbook says, “Obviously, the characterological outcome of the contest is quite independent of what might be seen as the manifest result of the fray” (TB 43). A character could lose a character contest even though they seem to be unfazed by the outcome. This is exactly what happens in the third scene of “The Kiss.” After Harvy approaches her and tells her that Brantain has sent him over to kiss her but decides to not kiss her, Chopin says, “Well, she had Brantain and his million left. A person can’t have everything in this world; and it was a little unreasonable of her to expect it” (Chopin 21). Although Nathalie has lost the character contest because she doesn’t get Harvy, she settles with the outcome and is fine with it. This is because she has been left with Brantain’s wealth. Her original identity of trying to have it all changes to settling for Brantain’s money. At least she will be regarded of highly in society and that’s what really matters for her. Nathalie’s loss in the character contest with Harvy forces her to be practical and settle for Brantain, and she is fine with that because Brantain’s wealth will secure her wealthy image in the public’s
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