141 Kate Chopin Facts: Books, Education, Influence And More | Kidadl


141 Kate Chopin Facts: Books, Education, Influence And More

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"Free, free, free. Body and soul, free!", murmured Mrs. Mallard famously, a character longing to express and live for herself created by Kate Chopin.

The American writer scribed several short stories and novels that were held in quite high esteem. She posthumously emerged as a face of the early feminist movement through her short stories.

Throughout her entire lifetime, Chopin resorted to different locales of different societies and economies. Her shrewd observation and precocious nature of these surroundings greatly inspired her ink. Most of the ideas reflected in her short stories are based on her analysis of 19th century Southern American Society.

The theme of individual expression of a woman especially runs through in her extant body of works. As much as Chopin’s stories have fascinated the readers over time, the life Kate spent enjoys no less curiosity.

Read on to know more about her short stories related to woman's urges, sexuality, and divorce published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Fun Facts About Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin was born in St. Louis Missouri on February 8, 1850, and was christened as Katherine O’Flaherty. Of her parentage, Kate’s mother was French while her father who was a businessman was an Irish immigrant.

The young girl saw many deaths, those of her siblings including her father during the Civil War.

As a result, Kate Chopin got more attached to the maternal side of her family where she developed a thirst for reading.

She satiated her cravings by consuming literature of fairy tales, contemporary and classic novels, poetry, and religious allegories.

When she reached the age of 20, she married Oscar Chopin, who died 12 years later leaving her in immense debt.

When her husband died in 1882, it is narrated that the 'widow' ran Oscar’s business for a while and flirted too much with local chaps.

The gossips are that she involved herself with a married farmer too.

Chopin did all she could to thrive on the plantation of her husband and a general store and was successful. Still, she chose to sell the Louisiana business two years later.

With her six children, this to-be-writer moved into her mother’s house.

She lost her mother and father in no time.

Financial liabilities strangled her pushing her into the territory of depression.

At this delicate point in time, her family friend advised her to ooze her dark sentiments and her suffocation onto paper.

She etched many novels and short stories which were published in a magazine 'The St. Louis Post-Dispatch' and other literary periodicals.

Things started to take a turn and her career took off as a writer. Who knew her creative release would sway the world?

Fun Facts About Kate Chopin’s Writings

Until the early 1890s, Kate Chopin established a thriving career as a writer. She actively contributed her pieces, short stories such as 'A No Account Creole', 'A Point at Issue', 'Beyond The Bayou', in different magazines.

Her first novel 'At Fault' was published sneakily as it featured a widow ranting on the themes like sexual limitations for women.

Later in 1892, this writer forged 'Desiree’s Baby', 'At The Candian Ball' and 'Ripe Figs' which were put out in two tales, including eight other short stories.

'Desiree’s Baby' was also printed in 'Vogue' magazine in 1893.

The story echoes her experience with the age that institutionalized slavery and racism in Louisiana, in 19th century America.

Chopin waltzed off to her desk and addressed these themes boldly that was a hot potato.

'Desiree’s Baby' stands in controversies owing to its business in the realm of miscegenation and her portrayal of untalked sides of marriage.

Critical reviews of her work published in national and local newspapers were sort of mixed, where some called her stories 'poison' and 'unpleasant' and that they were 'too strong a drink for moral babes'.

In the 1970s, Emily Toth her biographer credits the popularity of her works to the ideas and themes of women daring to cross societal constraints and their plea to partake in the feminist movement.

Kate Chopin touches on the subtle nuances of life, presenting the most delicate observation that is usually neglected by the common glances.

Kate Chopin's first short story was published in 1889.

Her famous short story 'Désirée's Baby' received great critical acclaim.

Kate Chopin’s Education

Kate Chopin got her primary education at St. Catholic girl’s school, and Academy of Heart until the age of 15. After her great-grandmother, at these academies, she sustained female-oriented education imparted by the nuns there.

These nuns provided a platform for students to express themselves and encouraged opinion building.

They guided them on ways to make money and its management there.

Furthermore, being a voracious reader she spent hours reading Dickens, Jane Austen, the Brontes, and more.

Her granny also instructed her French tongue and gave piano lessons.

While her great-grandmother who had separated from her husband and ran a business of her own is believed to be the inspiration of Chopin’s iron belief in woman/s strength.

At Sacred Heart, she attended the classes delivered by Mary O’Meara, her mentor with her best friend. Mary was an accomplished hand at both prose and verse.

She endorsed Chopin to write often, analyze her writings critically and present her opinion boldly.

Post her completion of studies at Sacred Heart, the woman went to St. Louis Society, where she married Oscar Chopin and settled in New Orleans, his hometown.

Just as one of her characters is notorious for her escapades in taking long walks smoking, Chopin too shocked the passers-by while puffing cigarettes as a woman.

It was not long after she became infamous as St. Louis’s 'Littlest Rebel'.

Later she and her family were banished from the place as they subscribed to pro-confederates.

This affiliation was further intensified by her brother’s death in the American Civil War.

Whatever she went through, greatly influenced her pieces. Her remarkable resilience despite facing such bitter criticism did not break the spirits of Kate Chopin.

Kate Chopin was a great American novelist.

Facts About Kate Chopin's Legacy, & Her Accolades

Kate Chopin received most of the accolades and recognition for her work posthumously. Predominantly, she was seen as the face of the early feminist movement.

In 1990, the writer was awarded a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Writer’s Corner in the Central West End, near St. Louis displays her head in an iron bust which was placed in 2012 to honor Kate Chopin for her immense literary contributions.

Another fascinating fact related is that of Chopin’s house where she lived with Oscar Chopin in Cloutierville.

The house was built in the early 19th century by Alexis Cloutier and was later came to be known as Kate Chopin House.

As her literary significance was accepted and recognized the house was designated as National Historic Landmark.

The house was used as the Bayou Folk museum until the incident of the house on fire on October 1, 2008, and it disintegrated.

'The Awakening' Controversy: Why was the book banned?

'The Awakening' is one of the two novels Chopin wrote.

The story is set in Grand Isle and New Orleans while the characters are as usual locals of Louisiana.

As the book was published, it largely faced negative critical reception from the critics and readers except a few.

The reason behind this was the unconventional behavior of her characters in the novel, particularly women.

Her portrayal of women's sexuality, marital infidelity, and motherhood clashed with the standard norms of society and was thus deemed offensive.

Critics labeled the book as scandalous and immoral and rose up against its approach.

Rumors go around that the book was banned initially for its overt discussion on sexuality and women’s urge.

Nonetheless, she drew her characters remarkably that possessed a unique element of reliability.

Her writings used local dialect for expression making the characters even closer to the audience and winning their favors.

As of now, 'The Awakening' is considered one of the top five favorite novels in American literature.

Who influenced Kate Chopin’s writings?

Every writer has a mentor who teaches and becomes a lifetime inspiration for him/ her.

In the case of Kate Chopin, she was rather influenced in her writings by a contemporary French writer Guy de Maupassant.

He also dealt mainly with short stories that held hints of realism.

However, she did not imitate Maupassant’s style and went on to breed her own style that could accommodate and aptly express her perception and creativity.

She produced a space where the struggles and unspoken utterances of women build one’s own identity in 19th-century Southern society.

Further her mentor Mary fuelled her writing knack profoundly.

Elizabeth Fox Genovese writes that she was neither a suffragist nor a feminist.

Rather she was a woman who took women greatly seriously in her fiction.

She had no ounce of doubt in a woman’s strength. Her stories had intelligent women.

On brooding, one can conclude that Kate Chopin painted a fairly elaborate biography of the society and its hypocritical and suppressive regime, especially with regards to women.

In 1904, five years after her last novel 'The Awakening', St. Louis's born author suffered a grave cerebral hemorrhage and breathed her last while she was touring around in St. Louis World’s Fair.

What was Kate Chopin known for?

This famous American novelist (1850-1904) and short story writer produced a significant body of literary works.

Her short stories mainly dealt with themes of women empowerment.

The writer serves a different perspective on feminism while discussing the inner lives and untold stories of women.

Her short stories were widely published by several acclaimed and prestigious periodicals of America, such as 'Vogue', the 'Atlantic Monthly', the 'Youth’s Companion', the 'Young People', and the 'Century'.

Her honest delineations of women’s lives in 'The Awakening' find rather crisp and notable expressions.

The Kate Chopin International Society was established in 2004 by Heather Ostman And Avis Hewitt, to support Kate Chopin’s revival of works and recognize her contributions to American literature.

Kate Chopin would have certainly set aback seeing the recognition her literary pieces are receiving in contrast to her own times.

Isn’t it the real thing to spit truth to society when it does not want to? That’s what Kate Chopin did, she voiced!

Written By
Joan Agie

<p>With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.</p>

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