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Encyclopedia > Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin in 1894

Born February 8, 1850(1850-02-08)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died August 22, 1904 (aged 54)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Occupation Novelist, short story writer
Genres realistic fiction
Literary movement feminist

Kate Chopin (born Katherine O'Flaherty on February 8, 1850August 22, 1904) was an American author of short stories and novels, mostly of a Louisiana Creole background. She is now considered to have been a forerunner of feminist authors of the 20th century. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... is the 39th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the game, see: 1850 (board game) 1850 (MDCCCL) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday [1] of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Nickname: Location in the state of Missouri Coordinates: , Country State County Independent City Government  - Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) Area  - City  66. ... is the 234th day of the year (235th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1904 (MCMIV) was a leap year starting on a Friday (see link for calendar). ... Nickname: Location in the state of Missouri Coordinates: , Country State County Independent City Government  - Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) Area  - City  66. ... This article is about work. ... A literary genre is one of the divisions of literature into genres according to particular criteria such as literary technique, tone, or content. ... ... is the 39th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the game, see: 1850 (board game) 1850 (MDCCCL) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday [1] of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 234th day of the year (235th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1904 (MCMIV) was a leap year starting on a Friday (see link for calendar). ... For other uses, see Author (disambiguation). ... This article is in need of attention. ... This article is about the literary concept. ... This article is about an ethnic culture in Louisiana, USA. For uses of the term Creole in other countries and cultures, see Creole (disambiguation). ... Feminism is a social theory and political movement primarily informed and motivated by the experience of women. ...


From 1889 to 1902, she wrote short stories for both children and adults which were published in such magazines as Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, the Century, and Harper's Youth's Companion. Her major works were two short story collections, Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897). Her important short stories included "Desiree's Baby", a tale of miscegenation in antebellum Louisiana; "The Story of an Hour" and "The Storm." The Atlantic Monthly (also known as The Atlantic) is an American literary/cultural magazine that was founded in November 1857. ... For other meanings, see vogue. ... Desirees Baby, one of the most widely-read short stories by author Kate Chopin, was written in 1893, and deals with questions of race in the American South. ... Frederick Douglass with his second wife Helen Pitts Douglass (sitting) who was white, a famous 19th century American example of miscegenation. ... Antebellum is a Latin word meaning before war(ante means before and bellum is war). ... The Story of an Hour (1894) is a short story by the American writer Kate Chopin. ... The Storm is a short story by the American writer Kate Chopin. ...


Chopin also wrote two novels: At Fault (1890) and The Awakening (1899), which is set in New Orleans and Grand Isle. The people in her stories are usually inhabitants of Louisiana. Many of her works are set about Natchitoches in north central Louisiana. In time, literary critics determined that Chopin addressed the concerns of women in all places and for all times in her literature. // The Awakening is a short novel by Kate Chopin, published in 1899. ... New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... Grand Isle is a town located in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, on a barrier island of the same name. ... The city of Natchitoches (pronounced , or NAK-uh-tush) is the parish seat of Natchitoches Parish, in the U.S. state of Louisiana. ...

Contents

Childhood

Kate O'Flaherty was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her father, Thomas O'Flaherty, was a successful businessman who had immigrated from Galway, Ireland. Her mother, Eliza Faris, was a well-connected member of the French community in St. Louis. Her maternal grandmother, Athena'ise Charleville, was of French Canadian descent. Some of her ancestors were among the first European inhabitants of Dauphin Island, Alabama.[1] Nickname: Location in the state of Missouri Coordinates: , Country State County Independent City Government  - Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) Area  - City  66. ... A businessman (sometimes businesswoman, female; or businessperson, gender neutral) is a generic term for a wide range of people engaged in profit-oriented enterprises, generally the management of a company. ... This article is about the city in Ireland. ... Dauphin Island, Alabama is a town in Mobile County, Alabama, on a barrier island also named Dauphin Island. ...


Kate's father died in 1855, when Kate was only five. As a founder of the Pacific Railroad, he was aboard the inaugural trip when a bridge across the Gasconade River collapsed. Mr. O'Flaherty was among the fatalities. That same year, Kate entered the St. Louis Catholic Academy of the Sacred Heart. The Pacific Railroad is a defunct U.S. railroad. ... The Gasconade River is a tributary of the Missouri River, about 265 mi (425 km) long[1], in south-central and central Missouri in the United States. ... The Academy of the Sacred Heart, founded in 1821 in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, is an independent, Catholic school for girls in Pre-Kindergarten-3 through grade twelve, with residential accommodations for students in grades seven through twelve. ...


After her father's death, Kate developed a close relationship with both her mother and her great-grandmother. She also became an avid reader of fairy tales, poetry, and religious allegories, as well as classic and contemporary novels. Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens were among her favorite authors. A fairy tale is a story, either told to children or as if told to children, concerning the adventures of mythical characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants, and others. ... This article is about the art form. ... An allegory (from Greek αλλος, allos, other, and αγορευειν, agoreuein, to speak in public) is a figurative representation conveying a meaning other than and in addition to the literal. ... Raeburns portrait of Sir Walter Scott in 1822. ... Dickens redirects here. ...


The year 1863 was a bad one for Kate's family: her great-grandmother died, as did her half-brother, George O'Flaherty. (Her father had been previously married, and his first wife, George's mother, had died. Kate's mother was much younger than her father.) George O'Flaherty was a Confederate soldier who died of swamp fever as a prisoner of war. Kate dropped out of regular schooling and became further engrossed in her world of books. Motto Deo Vindice (Latin: Under God, Our Vindicator) Anthem (none official) God Save the South (unofficial) The Bonnie Blue Flag (unofficial) Dixie (unofficial) Capital Montgomery, Alabama (until May 29, 1861) Richmond, Virginia (May 29, 1861–April 2, 1865) Danville, Virginia (from April 3, 1865) Language(s) English (de facto) Government... This article is about a military rank. ... Swamp fever is a term given to a number of diseases that are acquired in wet, swampy environments. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ...


In 1865, she returned to Sacred Heart Academy, and began keeping a commonplace book. She graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1868, but did not achieve any particular distinction — except as a master storyteller. During the Renaissance (especially in England), commonplaces (or commonplace books) were for some people a popular way to compile knowledge, usually done by writing information into books. ... For the Jim Henson production, see The Storyteller Storytelling is the art of portraying in words, images, and sounds what has happened in real or imagined events. ...


Difficult years

In 1869, at the age of 20, she married Oscar Chopin and settled in New Orleans. Oscar was born into a well-to do cotton-growing family in Louisiana. Kate had had all her children by the age of 28, which consisted of five boys and one girl. Shortly after that, the family had to relocate to Oscar's old home in a small Louisiana county due to his poor business decisions. In 1879 Oscar's cotton brokerage failed, and the family moved to Cloutierville, Louisiana, south of Natchitoches, to manage several small plantations and a general store. They became active in the community, and Kate absorbed much material for her future writing, especially regarding the Creole culture of the area. Their home at 243 Highway 495 (built by Alexis Cloutier in the early part of the century) is now a national historic landmark and the home of the Bayou Folk Museum. Alexis Cloutier founded Cloutierville, Louisiana, which was a town built on his plantation and later incorperated in 1822. ... A sugarcane plantation at Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, 2005 A plantation is a large tract of monoculture, as a tree plantation, a cotton plantation, a tea plantation or a tobacco plantation. ... Smiths Gully General Store in Smiths Gully, Australia. ... This article or section needs additional references or sources to improve its verifiability. ...


When Oscar died in 1882 of swamp fever (like her half-brother two decades earlier), he left Kate $12,000 in debt (approximately $229,360 in 2005 dollars) [2]. Kate attempted to manage the plantation and store alone but with little success. According to Emily Toth, "[f]or awhile the widow Kate ran his [Oscar's] business and flirted outrageously with local men".[1] She engaged in a relationship with a married farmer.


Although Kate gave an honest effort to keep her late husband's plantation and general store alive, two years later she sold her Louisiana life away. Her mother implored her to move back to St. Louis, and Kate and the children gradually settled into life in St. Louis, where finances were no longer a concern. The following year, Kate's mother died.


As to be expected, Kate found herself in a state of depression after the loss of both her husband and mother. Her obstetrician and family friend, Dr. Frederick Kolbenheyer, felt that writing would be a sort of therapeutic healing process for Kate during her hard times because he said, "He understood that writing could be a focus for her extraordinary energy, as well as a source of income".[2] She was quite successful and found many of her publications inside literary magazines. Some of her writings, though, such as The Awakening (1899), were far too ahead of their times and therefore not socially embraced. Shattered by the lack of acceptence, Chopin seemed to be virtually nonexistent after almost 12 years in the public eye of the literary world. Kate Chopin then died in 1904 from a cerebral hemorrhage. // The Awakening is a short novel by Kate Chopin, published in 1899. ...


The writing years

By the late 1890s, Kate was writing short stories, articles, and translations which appeared in periodicals, including The Saint Louis Dispatch. She became known as a regional local color writer, but her literary qualities were overlooked. In literature, regionalism, or local-color fiction, was a perspective of literature that gained popularity in America after the Civil War. ...


In 1899, her second novel, The Awakening, was published, and was criticized based on moral as well as literary standards. Her best-known work, it is the story of a dissatisfied wife. Out of print for several decades, it is now widely available and critically acclaimed for its writing quality and importance as an early feminist work. // The Awakening is a short novel by Kate Chopin, published in 1899. ... Feminism is a social theory and political movement primarily informed and motivated by the experience of women. ...


Kate, deeply discouraged by the criticism, turned to short story writing. In 1900 she wrote The Gentleman from New Orleans, and that same year was listed in the first edition of Marquis Who's Who. However, she never made much money from her writing and depended on investments in both Louisiana and St. Louis to sustain her. Marquis Whos Who is a US publisher of a number of books containing short biographical sketches of celebrated persons. ...


While visiting the St. Louis World's Fair on August 20, 1904 Kate was felled by a brain hemorrhage and died two days later, at the age of fifty-four. She was interred in the Calvary cemetery in St. Louis. Entrance to Creation Exhibit on the Pike Map of the St. ... A cerebral hemorrhage is a condition in the brain in which a blood vessel leaks. ... Bellefontaine Cemetery (established in 1849) and the Roman Catholic Calvary Cemetery (established in 1857) in St. ...


Kate Chopin has been inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. The St. ...


Literary themes

Kate Chopin experienced differentiated lifestyles throughout her time, which lent to her wide realm of societal understanding and analysis. Her childhood consisted of an upbringing by independent women with backgroundds descending from both traditional Irish and prominent French relations. Chopin also found herself within the Creole part of the nation after she joined her husband in Louisiana. As a result, many of her stories and sketches were about her life in Louisiana in addition to the incorporation of her less than typical portrayals of women as their own individuals with wants and needs. Kate's seemingly unique writing style did in fact emerge from an admiration of Guy de Maupassant, who was a French short story writer.

...I read his stories and marveled at them. Here was life, not fiction; for where were the plots, the old fashioned mechanism and stage trapping that in a vague, unthinkable way I had fancied were essential to the art of story making. Here was a man who had escaped from tradition and authority, who had entered into himself and looked out upon life through his own being an with his own eyes; and who, in a direct and simple way, told us what he saw...

[3] Kate Chopin went beyond Maupassant's technique and style and gave her writing a flavor of its own. She had an ability to perceive life and put it down on paper creatively. She put much concentration and emphasis on women's lives and their continual struggles to create an identity of their own within the boundaries of the male-ruled patriarchy. In The Story of an Hour, Mrs. Mallard allows herself time to reflect upon learning of her husband's death. Instead of dreading the lonely years ahead of her, she stumbles upon another realization all together. "She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome"[4] The Story of an Hour (1894) is a short story by the American writer Kate Chopin. ...


Not many writers during the mid to late 19th century were bold enough to address subjects that Kate willingly took on. Although David Chopin, Kate's grandson, claims "Kate was neither a feminist nor a suffragist, she said so. She was nonetheless a woman who took women extremely seriously. She never doubted women's ability to be strong".[5] Despite this fact, there is no question regarding where Kate's sympathies lay.


Through her stories, Kate wrote her own autobiography and documented her surroundings; Kate lived in a time when her surroundings included the abolitionist movements and the emergence of feminism. Her ideas and descriptions were not true word for word, yet there was an element of nonfiction lingering throughout each story. Kate took strong interest in her surroundings and put many of her observations to words. Jane Le Marquand saw Chopin's writings as a new feminist voice. "Chopin undermines patriarchy by endowing the Other, the woman, with an individual identity and a sense of self, a sense of self to which the letters she leaves behind give voice. The 'official' version of her life, that constructed by the men around her, is challenged and overthrown by the woman of the story"[6] Kate was utilizing her creative writing skills to relay a nonfiction point of view regarding her belief in the strength of women. The idea of creative nonfiction becomes relevent in this case. In order for a story to be autobiographical, or even biographical, there has to be a nonfictional element, which more often than not exaggerates the truth to spark and hold interest for the readers.


Desiree's Baby focuses in on Kate's experience with the Creoles of Louisiana. The idea of slavery and the atmosphere of plantation life was a reality in Louisiana. The possibility of one having a mixed background was not unheard of. Mulattos, as those with both black and white backgrounds, were a common race in the Southern part of the nation. The issue of racism that the story brings up was a reality in 19th century America. The dark reality of racism shows its ugly head in this story because Chopin was not afraid to address such issues that were often suppressed and intentionally ignored in order to avoid reality, as Armand does when he refuses to believe that he is of black descent. The definition of great fiction is that which has the only true subject of "human existence in its subtle, complex, true meaning, stripped of the view with which ethical and conventional standards have draped it". [7] Desirees Baby, one of the most widely-read short stories by author Kate Chopin, was written in 1893, and deals with questions of race in the American South. ...


Works

Story collections

  • Bayou Folk, (Houghton Mifflin, 1894)
  • A Night In Acadie, (Way and Williams,1897)

Novels

Year 1890 (MDCCCXC) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar). ... // The Awakening is a short novel by Kate Chopin, published in 1899. ... Year 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday [1] of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ...

Collected edition

  • Sandra M. Gilbert, ed., Kate Chopin: Complete Novels and Stories (At Fault, Bayou Folk, A Night in Acadie, The Awakening, Uncollected Stories), (Library of America, 2002) ISBN 978-1-93108221-1.

Volumes in the Library of America series The Library of America (LoA) is a nonprofit publisher of classic American literature. ...

Notes

1. Toth, Emily. Reviews the essay 'The Shadows of the First Biographer: The Case of Kate Chopin', 26 Southern Review, 1990.


2. Seyersted, Per. Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State UP, 1985.


3. Le Marquand, Jane. "Kate Chopin as a Feminist: Subverting the French Androcentric Influence". Deep South 2 (1996).


4. Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour.


5. Kate Chopin: A Re-Awakening. "Interview: David Chopin, Kate's Grandson". <http://www.pbs.org/katechopin/interviews.html> 14 March 2008.


6. Le Marquand, Jane. "Kate Chopin as a Feminist: Subverting the French Androcentric Influence". Deep South 2 (1996).


7. Foy, R.R. "Chopin's Desiree's Baby". Explicator 49 (1991): 222-224.


Resources

Wikisource
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Kate Chopin
  • Foy, R.R. "Chopin's Desiree's Baby". Explicator" 49 (1991): 222-224.
  • Kate Chopin: A Re-Awakening. "Interview: David Chopin, Kate's Grandson". <http://www.pbs.org/katechopin/interview.html> 14 March 2008.
  • "Kate O'Flaherty Chopin", A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. I (1988), p. 176
  • Le Marquand, Jane. "Kate Chopin as Feminist: Subverting the French Androcentric Influence". Deep South 2 (1996).
  • Seyersted, Per. Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State UP, 1985.
  • Toth, Emily. Reviews the essay 'The Shadows of the First Biographer: The Case of Kate Chopin', 26 Southern Review, 1990.

Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Persondata
NAME Chopin, Kate
ALTERNATIVE NAMES O'Flaherty, Katherine
SHORT DESCRIPTION American novelist, short story writer
DATE OF BIRTH February 8, 1850
PLACE OF BIRTH St. Louis, Missouri, United States
DATE OF DEATH August 22, 1904
PLACE OF DEATH St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Wikiquote is one of a family of wiki-based projects run by the Wikimedia Foundation, running on MediaWiki software. ... Project Gutenberg, abbreviated as PG, is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive and distribute cultural works. ... PBS redirects here. ... Construction of the Thomas Jefferson Building, from July 8, 1888 to May 15, 1894. ... Natchitoches Parish (French: Paroisse des Natchitoches) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... is the 39th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the game, see: 1850 (board game) 1850 (MDCCCL) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday [1] of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Nickname: Location in the state of Missouri Coordinates: , Country State County Independent City Government  - Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) Area  - City  66. ... is the 234th day of the year (235th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1904 (MCMIV) was a leap year starting on a Friday (see link for calendar). ... Nickname: Location in the state of Missouri Coordinates: , Country State County Independent City Government  - Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) Area  - City  66. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
PAL: Kate Chopin (1851-1904) (1476 words)
After her husband’s death, Kate then turned to a writing career for several reasons: she was a insatiable reader, she needed to provide for her large family, and she was encouraged by her family doctor to pursue her passion of writing as a relief from her loss (Skaggs 3).
She points out that although Chopin’s book was banned and harshly received in her time, readers are “re-reading or discovering for the first time with astonishment and wonder and downright pleasure, [what] ruined Kate Chopin’s career—and quite possibly contributed to the end of her life” (16).
As Chopin allegedly suffered from poor health in the years preceding her death (17), one might conjecture both women were victims of something in their family medical history which doctors in their day did not know about or understand, such as female heart attacks or strokes.
Kate Chopin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (933 words)
Kate O'Flaherty was born February 8, 1851 in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.
Kate married Oscar Chopin on June 9, 1870 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Kate and the children gradually settled into life in St. Louis where she needed no longer be concerned about money and during this time she was able to read more.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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