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Bayou Folk, A Collection Of Louisiana Stories By Kate Chopin

1556 words - 6 pages

No Longer Silent
Kate Chopin was a female writer whose sense of self was deeply rooted in the south. Chopin would create worlds for her characters to live in; her inspiration for these worlds was her own experiences in her life which she gained from living in the south during the second half of the nineteenth century. Chopin’s roots and the time in which she lived had historical significance and great impact on her style of writing and themes within her stories. She was also one of the first American authors to write truthfully about woman’s hidden lives, their sexuality, and about woman’s complex relationships they had with their husbands. The critic Per Seyersted said that [Kate Chopin] “Broke new ground in American literature. She was the first woman writer in her country to accept passion as a legitimate subject for serious, outspoken fiction” (“Kate Chopin: Overview”). Chopin was one writer who would test the boundaries with her stories.
One of the first books Chopin published was Bayou Folk, a collection of Louisiana stories, in 1894. It was very well accepted by the public and marked her as a great local color writer. Chopin was well-known for her work as a local colorist, but to describe Kate Chopin’s writing one has to look at many types of styles. There are elements of romanticism, transcendentalism, realism, naturalism, existentialism, feminism as well as local color.
Chopin’s feminist point of view was not what one would consider as a dictionary term feminist; she never joined any feminist groups to seek equal rights for women. Rather “Chopin saw that the problems confronting her sex were too complicated to admit of easy solutions…… In a society where man makes the rules, woman is often kept in a state of tutelage and regarded as property or as a servant. Her “lack of self-assertion” is equated with “the perfection of womanliness,” as Mrs. Chopin later expressed it in a story. The female's capital is her body and her innocence, and she should be attractive and playful enough for the man to want her, while showing a reticence and resistance which can gratify his sense of conquest, or “the man-instinct of possession,” as the author termed it in another tale.” (Seyersted, “An excerpt from Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography”) Chopin was one of the first feminist writers however that was not her intention; she just simply wrote about life as she saw it.
Many of Chopin’s stories are centered on the plantation life and issues of class, race, and gender as they were seen by her generation. Her works tend to show a French Creole influence; she gained this influence from growing up with Creole ancestry and living in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana. One of Chopin’s favorite places, and where many of her stories were set, was New Orleans. She had a deep connection to the city and “by writing about New Orleans, women, and their places, Chopin memorably explores some of the ways that physical places help to define not only our perspectives,...

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