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Kate Chopin (full name Katherine O'Flaherty) was born to Eliza Faris O'Flaherty who is believed to have French background.. Her father was one of the first influences in her life since he found her natural curiosity very interesting and encouraged her interests. Kate’s father died on November 1, 1855, in a train accident. Due to his premature death, Kate was raised by her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother Madame Victoire Verdon Charleville who was teaching through the art of storytelling, through her is how Kate learned to be a good storyteller.
Kate got the taste of culture and freedom which, was allowed by the French but Limited to the Americans from the story her Grandmother told her (Chopin, 33). The common themes in her grandmother's stories pertains the liberation of women and struggle for morality. The message from her great grandmother, still endures in Kate's works (Seyersted and Kate, 36). She became an American author of short stories and novels and, is considered by many to be the most feminist author in the 20th century. Her works has been appealing to both the adults and the children.
Some of her works entail: The Harpers youth companion, Atlantic monthly magazine the century and the Vogue (Chopin, 64). Some of the works that have hit the market include; `A night in the Arcade which was written in 1897 and The Bayou folk written in 1894. Her short story `Desiree’s baby’ published in 1894 and `The story of an hour’ published in 1893 have been seen to convey an appealing message to its readers. The setting of the story is mostly located in the north central Louisiana where the occupants of Louisiana stay. Her works got numerous recognitions and was embraces as the leading writer at the moment.
She has displayed in her works what could be described as a native aptitude for narration amounting almost to genius. She has championed the liberation of the female spirituality in which she focuses in her writings. Her work allowed her to assert her beliefs for herself and question the ideas of individuality and autonomy during that time. Unlike many of the feminist writers of her time, she had a different perspective in which she championed for the liberation of women instead of concentrating in improvement of the social welfare of the women (Connolly, 2006). Her works put a doubt in the conventional demands of men and women. She not only championed for equal opportunities for husband and wife, but also intellectual autonomy (i.e., women’s freedom to have political opinions and being taken seriously) (Chopin, 86). From her works, she was able to live a liberal life that covers all spheres of nature such as, mentally and physically-rather than playing the role that society expected of her.
The occurrences that Kate passed through have been on the forefront towards championing for the critiques that she writes in her work. This is affected more so with the occurrence of the civil war that took place between the north and the south. In spite of her family residing on the southern side, majority of her hometown resided at the north. The demise of majority of the inhabitants during the war incited her to realize the importance of life. These effect were much pronounced by the demise of her step brother, George O`Flaherty who was a confederate soldier and her grandmother Madame Victoire Verdon Charleville who died in 1863 having lived for eighty three years.
When Kate was 18 years old she discovered her hidden trait that was within her. She had a conservatism whereby she adhered to the set norms and traditions. However, some of the customs did not auger well with her. She is believed to have a liberal character that leads her to write the book about `Emancipation: A Life Fable’ that champions the freedom of the citizens more so to the women. Though married to Oscar Chopin, she never let her freedom go away as she continued championing for women’s right. This is exhibited by her lavish life where she enjoyed entertainment such as riding horses, dressing stylishly and smoking cigar. These actions surpassed the norms that a woman was supposed to adhere. Kate and her husband had six children of which she allowed them to be liberal about life. Her husband later on died of illness and she had to move to her mother so as to bring up her children. Unfortunately the mother also died later on which made her to be reintroduced into her writings.
The story opens with a brief history of the foundling, Desiree, is seen to have been adopted after she was found along the road. The Valmondes did not have a child, so the baby was taken and took care of her own kid. She became a young woman and her beauty attracted the attention of Armand Aubigny, a neighboring plantation owner and well renowned in Louisiana. Armand says that doesn't matter that Desiree’s heritage was unknown. After their marriage, Desiree bears a son. One day when Madame Valmonde comes to visit. She first sees the child she is astonished and exclaims, ‘‘This is not the baby!" Desiree laughs, thinking her mother is talking about how much the baby has grown. The child’s father was also very proud until later when he realized that the baby was black and Armand could not live with this since it was a disgrace to his family so Desiree was asked to leave with the baby. When Armand was burning the items and letters that could remind him of Desiree, he came across a letter written by his mother to his father confessing that she belonged to the race cursed with the brand of slavery.
The `Story of an Hour, which was written in 1894 gives the description of series of Louise Mallard is affected about the demise of the father who died in an accident at the railroad. (Chopin and Rachel, 44). Mrs. Mallard has heart problems and therefore her sister tried to inform her of the saddening news in a gentle way. Mrs. Mallard locks herself in her room to mourn the death of her husband. However, she begins to feel an unexpected sense of happiness. "Free! Body and soul free!" is what she believes to be a benefit of his death. At the end of the story, it is found out that her husband was not involved in the railroad tragedy and upon his return home Mrs. Mallard suddenly falls to her death. The cause of her death was unknown and left for analysis as it can range from her heart problems to psychological problems due to his return. In this story Chopin tells of a woman who finds solace in the death of her husband because she feels free from his oppression and is happy to be emancipated from his rule.