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Kate Chopin and Her “The Awakening” Story


American literature is the written or factual work prepared in United States and some of its former colonies. It consists of thousands of short stories and classic novels and covers all other kinds of subjects and genres (D’Arcy 6). One outstanding fact that remains is the struggle to forge a truly American identity. People like Washington Irvin and James cooper Fennimore wrote about how it is like to be an American (D’Arcy 6).Most of the authors had their own exclusive perspectives regarding what it meant to be American.

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Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin was an American writer. She was born in Feb 8, 1850 in St. Louis Missouri and died in Aug 22; 1904. Her father, Thomas O’Flaherty was an entrepreneur. He came to the USA from Galway Ireland. Her mother, Eliza Farris, was an associate of the French society in Saint Louis. Kate had five siblings, however they all died, living her to be the only one to more than the age of 25. She is one of the predecessors of feminist writer of the 20th century (Seyersted 10). She began writing by early 1890s.

She used to write down short stories for both kids and adults. They were published in periodicals, such as Atlantic Monthly, Vogue and the Century. Two short story collection the Bayou Folk (1894) and a night in Acadia (1897) were her greatest works. The notable short stories included the Desiree’s Baby (1893), story of an hour (1898) and the storm (1898). The novels written by Kate Chopin were At Fault in1890 and The Awakening in 1899 (Seyersted 10)

Most of the details of her work based in Natchitoches in North central Louisiana, and furthermore, the individuals in her narratives were residents of Louisiana. Kate Chopin had a specific way of writing her work, and so are her writing themes. She was using the common writing technique and style of the time which was Maupassant. Kate went ahead of her writing ability and added flavor of her own to her work. She was able to transform her unique view on life into words. She invested considerable attentiveness and importance on women’s lives and their regular attempt to make distinctiveness of their own (Evans 15).

These were focused on women’s search for selfhood and self discovery.

The Awakening

This is one of the stories written by Kate Chopin, published in 1899. Its set is in New Orleans and the southern Louisiana coast. The plot is based on the struggle of a woman by the name Edna Pontellier. She had to reconcile her unconventional views on feminism and motherhood with the prevailing social outlook of the south. She had a husband who was constantly away on business and so, she is left alone and feels unhappy. While at the resort at Grand Island, she becomes involved with a man. Robert is very much devoted to her and pays her a lot of attention (Chopin 4).

When Edna shifts back to New Orleans, she is feeling extremely depressed because she is limited by the frames of the society. She decided that she will become free from any social rules and norms. This can be seen as the beginning stage of “The Awakening”. She understands that she cannot be a property of a man and that in reality; she is free to do whatever she wants. Later on something’s happened in her life that makes her feel very alone in the world. She decides to go back to the Grand Island and while swimming, she once again feels the freedom but then stops her life (Chopin 5).

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The novel was one of the greatest landmark works of early feminism because of its blend of practical narrative, insightful social remarks and psychological complication (Taylor et al 34). The awakening had some controversial issues during its publication in 1899. It appeared to include storyline coverage rather than significant commentary (Chopin 5).

During that time, In Louisiana the law stated that a woman is a property of her husband. The awakening was scorned by the public and ostracized because of its open discussion of the emotional and sexual needs that a woman needs (Chopin 6). Kate Chopin used Edna to demonstrate how strong women have to be in order to conquer men’s dominant control to realize their ultimate needs. The novel shows numerous examples of how women ought to act and ways they should not act in society, in their houses, and with their husbands.

In Awakening, a woman is seen as being more important at the time when they conform into the mother position (Chopin 7).

The thing that was most progressive about Kate Chopin was her active search for female emancipation, which she was able to find and expressed it through her writing. The poems, short stories and novels that she wrote allowed her not to only assert her beliefs but also to query the ideas of individualism and self-sufficiency during the turn of the century (Cocks, Holloran and Lessoff 12.


Kate Chopin was known as one of the foremost writers in her period. After her death the new generations, which are more accepting of the female sexuality and equality, praise the works of Kate Chopin. She is not alone in the feminist movement against the male domination in relationships. Other famous writers, women took the stand in opposition to the unfairness of male domination.


Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. H.S. Stone publishers, 1899. Print.

Cocks, Catherine, Holloran Peter, and Lessoff,Alan. Historical dictionary of the Progressive Era. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. 2009. Print.

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D’Arcy, Chantal. Gender, Ideology: Essays On Theory, Fiction And Film. Amsterdam: Rodopi publisher, 1996. Print.

Evans, Brad. Before Cultures: The Ethnographic Imagination In American Literature, 1865-1920. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. Print.

Seyersted, Per. Kate Chopin: a critical biography. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1969. Print.

Taylor, Todd., et al. The Companion To Southern Literature: Themes, Genres, Places, People, Movements, And Motifs. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001. Print.

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