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The Unconventional Kate Chopin

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, death led Kate Chopin to write. The death of her brother, her beloved grandmother, her husband, and lastly, her mother left her with an overwhelming sadness and six children to raise, prompting her move to write. With such earnest promptings, Chopin took up writing at age thirty-eight. The publication of the love poem "If It Might Be" in January 1889 marked Chopin's first appearance in print.

Many of Kate Chopin’s writings wave a backward glance to her childhood. Kate's grandmother, Madame Charleville, spent much time telling Kate stories that stirred her interest about people's lives, minds, and morals. Madame Charleville's favorite saying was, "One may know a great deal about people without judging them. God does that" (Oscar 17). Young Kate must have paid a great deal of attention. Three decades later, when she came to do her own storytelling, she would continue to leave judgment entirely to God.

Kate Chopin’s first novel, At Fault, also refers to sentimen...

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...m Blake, Chopin was interested in innocence and experience, and both of these themes run within The Awakening. It was this book, though after her death, that made her loved.

Kate Chopin died in August of 1904 of a cerebral hemorrhage. She was an incredibly talented writer. She wrote about real issues and real feelings. Light and shadow play in her fiction. Moods come and go, representing the diverse events Chopin experienced. Unfortunately, like many other authors, Kate Chopin was never recognized for these incredible talents until it was far too late.

Work Cited

Bloom, Harold. Modern Views On Kate Chopin. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. 125-133.

Oscar, Steven. Kate Chopin: A Re-Awakening. New York: Rosen Publishers, 1992. 17-24.

Thornton, Lawrence. "Kate Chopin." The Scribner Writers Series.CD-ROM, 2001: 1-9
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