A Little Piece Of Kate Chopin

1025 words - 5 pages

Many authors find inspiration through their past experiences, whether it is subconscious or not they incorporate a little part of their life into their stories. Katherine O’Flaherty, later Kate Chopin, grew up very differently from many girls in the eighteen hundreds. Her unusual childhood had her surrounded by three independent and educated women, which is how she grew up with such strong feminist views. Throughout her schooling and homelife, Kate was taught to live independently and think for herself. Kate Chopin uses her life’s experiences to help shape her characters and plot throughout many of her writings including “The Story of an Hour” and The Awakening.
Growing up in St. Louis, Kate rarely moved during her life, from St. Louis Kate and her husband Oscar moved to New Orleans where they raised six kids. Although Kate loved her kids, she hated getting caught up in motherly activities. Often times she would travel to familiar places such as Grand Isle and St. Louis as a miniature escape from reality. In The Awakening by Kate Chopin the main character Edna Pontellier married her husband and moved to New Orleans just as Kate did with Oscar. Edna and Leonce would vacation on Grand Isle during the summer, which was a very familiar place to Chopin seeing as she would also go there with her family for their little vacations. Edna was not a very good mother and did not pay much attention to her children, she was always out of the house and giving her responsibilities to the nurse. Unlike Edna Adele Ratignolle, one of her friends, was “... the embodiment of every womanly grace and charm. If her husband did not adore her, he was a brute, deserving of death by slow torture.” (?) She was a typical housewife during the nineteenth century, a caring mother, and would do anything for her children and family. Both Edna and Adele were set to represent both sides of Kate. On one hand she loved her kids and taking care of them was her job, but at the same time Kate was taught to be independant. Surrounded by single unconstrained women growing up, it was not unusual for Kate to need time alone away from her husband with just her thoughts.
Just as Edna and Adele were written to portray Chopin, Kate’s husband and great-grandmother were woven into The Awakening. Much like Kate’s real life husband Lenoce was of Creole descent and had a business in New Orleans. The only thing different between the couples is that Edna and Leonce did not have a good relationship while Kate and Oscar’s marriage was more like the Ratignolles. Another similarity between a character and Kate’s family is Mademoiselle Reisz and Kate’s great-grandmother. When Kate was only five years old when her father was killed by a train accident. Due to his abrupt death Kate was forced to come home from school and her mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother were had to come together and help raise her. Each...

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