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Kate Chopin

Bio; The Awakening
by

Naomi Perez

on 7 December 2012

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Transcript of Kate Chopin

Life Late Life Literary Works Controversy Setting Catherine (Kate) O'Flaherty was born in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on February 8, 1850, the second child of Thomas O'Flaherty of County Galway, Ireland, and Eliza Faris of St. Louis. Kate met Oscar Chopin of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, whose French father had taken the family to Europe during the Civil War. Kate and Oscar were married in 1870. American author Kate Chopin (1850–1904) wrote two published novels and about a hundred short stories in the 1890s. Most of her fiction is set in Louisiana and most of her best-known work focuses on the lives of sensitive, intelligent women. Chopin began working on The Awakening in 1897, finishing the novel in 1898. She also wrote her short story "The Storm" in 1898, but, apparently because of its sexual content, she did not send it out to publishers. No mainstream American publisher would have printed the story. The next year, 1899, one of her stories appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, and Herbert S. Stone finally published The Awakening. "The Story of an Hour" Kate Chopin From 1855 to 1868 Kate attended the St. Louis Academy of the Sacred Heart, with one year at the Academy of the Visitation. Much of the fiction Kate wrote as an adult draws on the nurturing she received from women as she was growing up. In 1855, her father was killed in a railroad accident. In 1863 her beloved French-speaking great grandmother died. Kate spent the Civil War in St. Louis, a city where residents supported both the Union and the Confederacy and where her family had slaves in the house. Her half brother enlisted in the Confederate army, was captured by Union forces, and died of typhoid fever. Between 1871 and 1879 Kate gave birth to five sons and a daughter--in order of birth, Jean Baptiste, Oscar Charles, George Francis, Frederick, Felix Andrew, and Lélia. Oscar bought a general store in Cloutierville, but in 1882 he died of malaria--and Kate became a widow at age thirty-two, with the responsibility of raising six children. She never remarried. In 1904 Kate Chopin bought a season ticket for the famous St. Louis World's Fair. After Chopin returned home from the fair on Saturday, August 20 she felt unwell. She called her son at midnight complaining of a pain in her head. Doctors thought that she had had a cerebral hemorrhage.She lapsed into unconsciousness the next day and died on August 22. She is buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis. Kate began to compose fiction, and in 1889 one of her stories appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. In 1890 her first novel, At Fault, was published privately. The book is about a thirtyish Catholic widow in love with a divorced man. She cannot as a practicing Catholic accept the idea of divorce, yet she cannot banish from her life the man whom she loves. At Fault offers a compelling glimpse into what Kate Chopin was thinking about as she began her writing career. In 1894 she wrote "Lilacs" and "Her Letters." "The Story of an Hour" and "A Respectable Woman" appeared in Vogue. And Houghton Mifflin published Bayou Folk, a collection of twenty-three of Chopin's stories. A few critics praised the novel's artistry, but most were very negative, calling the book "morbid," "unpleasant," "unhealthy," "sordid," "poison." Chopin's novels were mostly forgotten after her death in 1904, but in the 1920s her short stories began to appear in anthologies, and slowly people again came to read her The Awakening, "The Storm," "The Story of an Hour," "Désirée's Baby," "A Pair of Silk Stockings," "A Respectable Woman," "Athénaïse," and other stories appear in countless editions and are embraced by people for their sensitive, graceful, poetic depictions of women's lives. The story is set in the late nineteenth century in the home of Louise Mallard. Characters •Louise Mallard
•Brently Mallard: husband of Louise
•Josephine: sister of Louise
•Richards; friend of Brently Mallard Theme There is often a focus on themes related to women's search for selfhood, for self-discovery or identity as well as on women's revolt against conformity, often against gender conformity or against social norms that limit women's possibilities in life Plot Louise Mallard has heart trouble, so she must be informed carefully about her husband’s death. Her sister, Josephine, tells her the news. Louise’s husband’s friend, Richards, learned about a railroad disaster when he was in the newspaper office and saw Louise’s husband, Brently, on the list of those killed. Louise begins sobbing when Josephine tells her of Brently’s death and goes upstairs to be alone in her room. Symbols Heart Trouble
The Chair
Open Window
The Sky The Victorian Era Critical Questions What events in Kate Chopin's life do you think might have influenced her writing?
From what you learned in the video, what do you know about the lives of women during the Victorian Era? How did Kate Chopin address these issues in her works?
How do the use of symbols convey themes and deeper meanings in a story?
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