Kate O’Flaherty Chopin was a woman born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1850, soon after the start of the women’s rights movement. At the age of eighteen, she met Oscar Chopin and they were married in 1870. From 1871 to 1878, the Chopin’s had six children. Oscar died at an early age, forcing Kate Chopin to raise the children alone, considering she never remarried. Her depression and need for income compelled her to write. Many of Chopin’s works were feminist literature and were about woman’s rights and sexuality; this included her novel The Awakening. The types of stories Chopin mostly chose to write were texts that showed “…the types of oppression that women experience and the ways in which they struggle to break free from this oppression, realizing that they are worthwhile individuals with something meaningful to contribute to society,” (Suzanne Greene). Kate Chopin saw the way woman were treated in her lifetime, and chose to write about women busting out of those confining walls, and living without regard for the male opinion. Kate Chopin’s character Edna Pontellier in The Awakening reflects a woman’s fight against the societal norms of the time period.
When Kate Chopin was born, the “Women’s Rights Movement” had just begun. Once she reached her twenties, the movement was in full force. Women in this time had more determination to volunteer and develop their skills further outside the home. (History, Art & Archives) Because Kate Chopin’s husband Oscar died in 1882, Kate Chopin was bound to a life of raising her six children alone. Never remarrying, she was her family’s only source of income, and the only income was from her writing. One of her most known works is The Awakening. The story tells us about Edna Pontel...
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...usband 's property, both financially and physically.” She had no control over her own life, and “death represented one aspect of her life that she could take complete control over,” (Suzanne Greene).
During the 1800s, women were subjected to serious oppression. When a man told a woman to do something, she had to do it, mostly out of fear of being seriously reprimanded, verbally and, in worst cases, physically. Author Kate Chopin saw this in her daily life, and knew it was a problem. Chopin showed us, in her novel The Awakening, how a woman could live completely secluded from sexuality and male opinion, like her character Mademoiselle Reisz. Most importantly, though, she created the character Edna Pontellier to illustrate how a woman was able to bust out of the walls of patriarchy and chose her own future, though those actions can attract serious consequences.
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