This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Naturalism And Kate Chopin Essay

882 words - 4 pages

The writing of Kate Chopin shows elements of both Realism and Naturalism; Chopin’s characters are dynamic, the story is almost nearly always open ended, and there is a definite experience of the commonplace - textbook characteristics of Realism; however, these same characters are displayed with an underlying determinism and cover taboo topics - denoting a stronger sense of Naturalism (Scheidenhelm). Therefore, despite how it may appear at first, Kate Chopin is not an author of the Realism genre but instead is part of the Naturalism genre.

An excellent article by Richard Lehan, “Literary Naturalism and Its Transformations,” describes the “naturalistic narrative”: “There is thus a romantic dilemma at the heart of a naturalistic narrative: naturalistic characters pursue an ideal that puts them in motion at the same time that it is beyond achieving.” (228) This brings us square into the plot of Chopin’s last published, and perhaps most well-known work - “The Awakening” (Chopin 881-1002); the main character was faced with a conflict, loss, and ostracization due to her desire to be something other than what society expected of her. In a separate article by Linda Kornasky for Angelo State University, she explains some of the troubles Chopin faced when she published “The Awakening”:
During the recovery process for The Awakening, Kate Chopin's critics frequently expressed their disappointment that this novel, which had been mischaracterized as trivial and/or obscene by many reviewers...and thus it did not immediately become an important literary milestone to novelists then coming of age. (197)
As mentioned in the introduction, a hallmark of a naturalistic tale was covering taboo topics in a work. “The Awakening” covers many topics that at the time would have been considered taboo - namely extramarital affairs and the independence of a woman.

In fact, perhaps due to the reaction to “The Awakening,” the follow-up to “At the ‘Cadian Ball” (Chopin 219-227) was not published until many years after her death; in “The Storm” (Chopin 292-596) we revisit Calixta, Bobinôt, and Alcée many years after the events of “At the ‘Cadian Ball” and mostly see how unhappy and discontent Calixta is with her life. The story once again covered the topic of extramarital affairs (TABOO), though it is distinctly different than the kind found inside “The Awakening” - the congress was portrayed as something that they could not have stopped no matter how they tried, and something that they could not make permanent due to their stations in life. Classic determinism, and as it takes the forefront in the story rather than any of the free-will and real portrayal of characters,...

Find Another Essay On Naturalism and Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin: Her Life and Its Influences of The Awakening

1242 words - 5 pages Kate Chopin, born February 8, 1850, used her life’s experiences to express strong opinions to her 1900s American audience. Although her work was criticized for its honesty and audaciousness, by the late 1900s Chopin’s work was considered as brilliant literature that accurately described women of the late 1800s. The Awakening was Chopin’s most famous work, however it nearly ended her writing career due to the violent backlash she received for

Kate Chopin And Going Against Norms Of Society

2779 words - 11 pages Kate Chopin On a steamy Saturday morning, the exhibits of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 sat waiting for the fingers of eager patrons to browse through their items. Kate Chopin, a daily visitor to the fair that summer, came despite the damp ground and humid air to enjoy the festivities of the day. Because of her declining health, Chopin returned home that day tired, but insisted that the fair was the best thing for her. By the middle

Desire and Female Sexuality in The Storm by Kate Chopin

1100 words - 5 pages In Kate Chopin’s time, women and their sexuality and sexual passion was deemed a negligible, even improper, aspect of women’s lives. Yet Chopin boldly addresses a woman’s sexual desire in her short story “The Storm”. This story puts into great detail a torrid extramarital sexual encounter between Calixta and Alcee in the midst of a raging storm. While “The Storm” could have been presented in a traditional light, perhaps as a lesson of the

Literary Devices in Stories by Kate Chopin and Ray Bradbury

841 words - 4 pages There are so much more to stories than just the words that we read. Writers want us to do more than just read the words; they want us to read between the lines. Authors use many different literary devices in stories to make people think “between the lines.” They try to get as much meaning in their stories as possible, and they do this through tools like irony, metaphors, and symbolism. Kate Chopin in particular does a very good job with using

Research Paper on Kate Chopin and Her Works

3182 words - 13 pages Kate Chopin is best known for her novel, The Awakening, published in 1899. After its publication, The Awakening created such uproar that its author was alienated from certain social circles in St. Louis. The novel also contributed to rejections of Chopin's later stories including, "The Story of An Hour" and "The Storm." The heavy criticism that she endured for the novel hindered her writing. The male dominated world was simply not ready for

Symbol and Irony in The Awakening by Kate Chopin

949 words - 4 pages “The Awakening” Symbolism, Irony In Kate Chopin's short story “The Awakening”, the voice of the story portrays a woman with sexual aspirations, and moral female social rules in search for independence and self discovery. The story is based on the 19th century woman. During this time women barely had any freedom, were not recognized within the society and had no choice but to me submissive to their husbands. The main character of the story

"The Awakening" by Kate Chopin - Analysis and symbolism

1144 words - 5 pages "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin, provocatively illustrates the sexual and emotional awakening of the female protagonist, Edna Pontellier. Although it was publically scorned when it was first published in 1899 for its racy content, it is now considered one of the strongest feminist novels of American Literature. The novel successfully highlights the issues of feminism through Chopin's criticism of the patriarchal society that drowns Edna, despite

Kate Chopin and The Story of an Hour

1801 words - 8 pages only way she can be is through her death Mrs. Mallard can free herself. Louise's death reveals the impossibility of an idealistic feminist searching for selfhood and freedom at a wrong time. By the death of Louise at the end of the story, Chopin clearly implies that any woman's search for ideal feminine selfhood is impossible in an age dominated by powerful patriarchs, but by Louise's search for selfhood and feminine emancipation, with a prophetic

Regional Writers, a comparison of Mary Wilkes Freeman and Kate Chopin

1251 words - 5 pages Regional WritersDuring the post-Civil War era writers from all regions of the country emerged. The writers all generated stories in respect to their region of the country, that incorporated local values and characteristics. Many of the authors use some of the same themes, such as irony. Mary Wilkes Freeman writes with irony in "A New England Nun" and Kate Chopin uses irony in "Desiree's Baby." Freeman is from a small town in Massachusetts and

Comparison of Ripe Figs, The Story of an Hour, and The Storm by Kate Chopin

1086 words - 4 pages Comparison of Ripe Figs, The Story of an Hour, and The Storm by Kate Chopin In the three short works, "Ripe Figs," "The Story of an Hour," and "The Storm," Kate Chopin has woven into each an element of nature over which no one has control. She uses short time spans to heighten impact and bring her stories to quick conclusions. She displays attitudes in her characters in two of her stories which may have been very controversial at the

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner and “The Storm” by Kate Chopin.

962 words - 4 pages Women in the Victorian Era, and analysis of “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner and “The Storm” by Kate Chopin. There is something about a blank page that allows your emotions and true feelings to flow on it without judgement. It is your own creation, one that remains untarnished by the views of others. These recorded feelings allow for an unhindered access into the perspectives of the author. As such, we are granted a unique

Similar Essays

Kate Chopin And Mary Wilkins Essay

1808 words - 8 pages literature started to develop during the antebellum era in the late 19th century and the 20th century. At this period of time many writers started to get well known in the American society. Good examples of two good antebellum era writers are Kate Chopin, and Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman. These two women made a big impact in the American history. Both of these women were very important writers, and well known for their American romance fiction

Kate Chopin And Women's Rights Essay

688 words - 3 pages Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1850, Kate Chopin was an influential woman who endured many tragedies throughout her lifetime. She grew up in a bilingual and bicultural home of English and French, mostly raised by the widowed women in her family (Kate Chopin). Her father had died when she was five years old when his train crossed a collapsing bridge and all her siblings died in infancy or in their early twenties. From then till she was about

Kate Chopin: Adversity And Criticism Essay

2807 words - 11 pages Kate Chopin: Adversity and Criticism Tragedy, death, adversity and criticism can one or a combination of these circumstances influence the path you take? Enduring the death of loved ones, facing critical abuse and public denunciation as an immoralist, Kate Chopin is considered among the most important women in the nineteenth-century American fiction. (Scarsella) Katherine (Chopin) O'Flaherty was born of Irish-French descendants. There is some

The Life And Literary Work Of Kate Chopin

736 words - 3 pages . & Howard Haycroft, eds. American Authors 1600-1900, A Biographical Dictionary of American Literature. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1938. Magill, Frank M. Great Lives From History, American Women Series II. Pasadena: Salena Press, 1995. Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 6: American Naturalism: Kate Chopin (1851-1904)." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature A Research and Reference Guide. WWW URL: