Breaking Through The Barrier: Kate Chopin

1519 words - 7 pages

Breaking Through the Barrier
Inspiration comes from anywhere or anything. Kate Chopin being born at a time where men were thought as superior, “soared above the level plain of tradition and prejudice” through her books and short stories that defied this norm (Chopin 217). As Chopin once said, "the artist must possess the courageous soul that dares and defies” (Chopin 165). Prime examples of this writing style are her book and short stories The Awakening, “The Story of an Hour,” and “Desiree’s Baby.” These books share Kate Chopin's passion for feminism and her views toward gender roles and equality. I will analyze Kate Chopin’s style and literary strategies and explain how society had an effect on women change throughout nineteenth-century.
One great example of Chopin's literary style is her book, The Awakening, which was published in 1899, and it immediately created a controversy. Critics were shocked by her depiction of a woman with active sexual desires, who dares to leave her husband and have an affair. Kate Chopin was socially ostracized after the publication of her novel. Her main character, Edna, begins to question marriage and describes it as “one of the most lamentable spectacles on earth” (Chopin 70). This “awakening” happened at the time she met Robert, the elder son of Madame Lebrun. At first, the relationship between Edna and Robert is naive. They mostly talk by the beach and swim. However, as time passes Edna becomes closer to Robert. She begins to realize that she is unhappy with her husband and is inspired to paint as she used to in her youth. Robert helps her become aware of her independence and sexuality.
Chopin uses Edna's childhood memories, her immersion in the sea and birds as symbols of Edna’s rebirth and awakening to a new conception of self rather than returning to the enslavement of a husband and society’s norms. The Awakening is largely about an identity crisis. Dissatisfied with her labels as "wife" and "mother," the "awakening" that Edna experiences is the awakening of her true self.
Another story by Chopin is “The Story of an Hour” which was published in 1894. It is a story about a woman, Mrs. Mallard who is given the horrible news that her husband has just passed away in a train wreck. Devastated by her husband’s sudden death, she rushes to her bedroom to be left alone. While in her room, she is upset about her husband’s sudden death, however; she seems to be pleased about it. Now that her husband has passed away, Mrs. Mallard begins to look at life in a different way: a much more independent and “free” world. She realized that “there would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature” (Chopin 1). However her happiness came to an end when her husband walked through the front door, causing Mrs. Mallard to have a heart attack from “the joy that kills” (Chopin 1).
Here the protagonist of "The Story...

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