biography of kate chopin

Essays on Kate Chopin - About the Author
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    Kate Chopin wrote at the turn of the century, toward the end of the Victorian era. During that period, rights accorded to women were restricted to those delegated and allowed by the husband or father. The role allotted to women was confined to that of daughter, wife and mother, often entailing more of the duties inherent in the title of servant than the freedom to pursue a sense of worth as an individual. The woman was meant to live within the bounds of the social structure without complaint and in full compliance.
   Perhaps it was the lack of male role models during most of her life that influenced her focus on the feminine perspective in her work as a writer. It has been suggested that the grief Chopin felt at the death of her husband was reflected in the momentarily freed wife in The Story of an Hour.
   Gender roles were dichotomized between the 'male' ideals of courage, dignity and gravity and the 'feminine' ideals of purity, gentleness, kindness and sympathy. Men were seen as the 'doers' and women held the more passive role. Although Ms. Chopin's own married life was not seen as abusive or discontented, there is the element of rebellion in her stories that points to her own lack of acceptance of the social roles as they were defined for women. This is certainly the case in The Story Of An Hour where the death of the husband is greeted with elation and the news that he is not dead is met with such (satirical) pain as to cause death. Yet it is a theme that echoes throughout much of the work of this great...classic author...

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