Term Paper on Kate Chopin

This essay has a total of 974 words and 5 pages.

Kate Chopin

Darline Dodard
ENG 333-531
Midterm Paper
Kate Chopin's literary talent would have never been so strongly founded if it was not for
the circumstances surrounding her life and upbringing. Her father died when she was only
four years old, which left her mother and grandmother to raise, and shape her desires and
ideologies. Having been raised primarily by strong willed feminine role models, Chopin
developed a taste for more of an unconventional role for women in society. In her hometown
of St. Louis, she became known as the town's "Littlest Rebel." She was widowed and left
with six children to bring up on her own.

Chopin also learned about strong and independent women from her passion for literature.
She studied a number of female authors, including Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Mme.
De Stael, whose stories about women's freedom in both love and artistic expression Kate
especially loved. Author Guy de Maupassant's nontraditional, realistic short stories and
novellas also captured Chopin as a young reader.

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 prompts, 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.

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.

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 sentiments of her childhood, which was
not without limitations and prejudices. Her parents, the O'Flahertys were slave holders
and rebel supporters. When the Civil War broke out, Kate's brother George joined the
Confederate Army. Kate's sentiments followed after the protection of her brother, and she
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