Kate Chopin was the first American female novelist to write frankly about women's sometimes conflicted feelings toward their roles as wives and mothers.
Kate Chopin, (1851-1904), was an American novelist and short story writer. She was the first American female novelist to write frankly about women's feelings toward their roles as wives and mothers. Chopin's best-known novel, THE AWAKENING (1899), deals with a woman who is dissatisfied with her passionless husband. The woman gradually gives in to her strong desires for other men and commits adultery. The novel focuses on the restrictions that social and religious institutions of the late 1800's placed on women. Chopin's novel was severely criticized for her realistic treatment of the subject of adultery.
Kate O'Flaherty Chopin was born in St. Louis. For many years, she lived in or near New Orleans. Drawing from her experiences there, Chopin wrote more than 100 short stories, many of which were published in the collections BAYOU FOLK (1894) and A NIGHT IN ACADIE (1897). These stories provide a colorful picture of life in the Cajun, Creole, and African American communities of central Louisiana. In these stories, Chopin experimented with increasingly frank depictions of marriage, divorce, sexual attitudes, and racial prejudice.
Alan Gribben, Ph.D., Department Head and Distinguished Research Professor, Department of English, Auburn University Montgomery.
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