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The Awakening Essay

1554 words - 6 pages

Kate Chopin wrote for a reason and with a sense of passion and desire. She lived the way she wanted to and wrote what she felt, thought, and wanted to say. Kate wrote for many years and her popularity was extreme until critical disapproval of her novel, The Awakening, a story that portrayed women’s desires of independence and control of their own sexuality. Most men condemned this story, while women applauded her for it. Kate wrote with a sense of realism and naturalism and she created a voice that is unique and unmatched. The voice gave a view of the female role in society and contributed to the beginning of the later feminist movements. In 1915, Fred Lewis Pattee wrote, "some of Chopin's work is equal to the best that has been produced in France or even in America. She displayed what may be described as a native aptitude for narration amounting almost to genius" (qtd. in Amazon.com “About the Author”). Kate Chopin was a 19th century American author who cared about women and their rights. She was a bold writer who had a huge impact on how the world should treat women.
On February 8, 1851, Katherine O’Flaherty was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Kate was born to the parents of Thomas O’Flaherty and Eliza Faris. Her father was a wealthy Irish immigrant and a successful businessman. Sadly, Kate’s father died in a railway accident when she was only four years old. Kate’s childhood was influenced mostly by her mother and great-grandmother. Kate spent much time with her family’s Creole and mulatto slaves, becoming familiar with their dialects. She attended Sacred Heart convent where she was a very poor student, but an avid reader. At the age of eleven Kate’s great-grandmother as well as her half-brother died. These two deaths caused Kate to seclude herself in the family attic to study more books (Authors and Artists par. 5). Kate’s schooling was irregular and she herself attributed her education more to her reading, than to the education she received at the Sacred Heart convent. At the age of seventeen she graduated with a passion for literature and storytelling. She spent two years as a belle in St. Louis society becoming aware of feminist social issues (World Biography par. 2). “She began to smoke cigarettes and wrote a feminist fable, ‘Emancipation.’ She read and admired the works of Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, George Eliot, and George Sand” (qtd, in Bloom 10). Kate preferred to spend time alone reading instead of attending socials all night. Although Kate spent a lot of time reading by herself, it did not stop her from writing what she saw in the world around her.
In June 1870, Kate married a cotton trader and Creole named Oscar Chopin. Together they moved to New Orleans. While Oscar worked as a cotton factor and began handling sales, finances, and supplies for other plantation owners, Kate lived her care-free life (Authors and Artists par. 7). Kate began to write about what she saw. She adopted two strange habits for women; smoking...

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