An Independent Woman

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Kate Chopin conveys a women's point of view in most of her stories. Her life was tragic to a certain degree she lost many people who were close to her. This made her very independent. Her "Story of an Hour" expresses her view of what women go through when they are repressed. When Louise is saying, "I'm free I'm free," people get a sense of what she is going through (Chopin 13). Chopin had to be independent because her husband died and left her with children and a business to run. Like Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind she took over the business when her husband died. What she seems to try to get across in her stories is women need to be more independent and aggressive in their lives, and not wait for someone else no matter what.

"Desiree's Baby" is a story in which the way women were viewed in the civil war era can be seen. Desiree's feelings about having a black baby are a central focus. Chopin grew up in that era and experienced the way women were treated. In "Desiree's Baby" Desiree is talking to her husband he is accusing her of being black. She says, "I am white! Look at my hair, it's brown, and my eyes are gray. Armand, you know they are gray, and my skin is fair. Look, I'm whiter than you"(Shen 2). Chopin had a black friend, and because of the racial conflict at that time, her friend had to leave the south. So many of her stories are set in Louisiana, because that was where she was from. She writes in "Desiree's Baby," that Desiree's husband wants her to leave and take the baby because he thinks Desiree is black. What a shock for him to find out that he was the one who was part black (Shen 3).

"Beyond the Bayou" is a story in which Kate Chopin is portraying the life of a black woman whose name is Jacqueline. Jacqueline is a black nanny who everyone called La Folle. In this story she is emotionally attached to a white boy, because she helps raise him. La Folle is scared to leave the bayou because she thought that the world outside was terrible (Credo 1-3). Women were treated badly in the south; Chopin wanted to express the pain and experience that women went through in the world. In this story, Jacqueline gets out of the bayou and realizes that the outside world was not scary at all. Perhaps each reader of Chopin's story sees it differently the topics of most of her stories are about women and their relationships. Hers was a time in society, when a woman's role was even more subordinate to a man's than it is today.

Kate Chopin was a woman who raised six children, after her husband died. She ran a business, and wrote many novels, short stories, and poetry (Credo 1). Chopin was a successful author and writer until she published The Awakening. There was considerable controversy because of the sexual content. People were not as open about having affairs and expressing their sexual feelings in that era, and they wanted the story suppressed. Chopin was persecuted because of this story (Credo 3).

Chopin wrote to convey her way of thinking. She tried to get across to the public that women were changing. According to Skaggs, she has been viewed as "a feminist, a local colorist, a regionalist, and existentialist"(Skaggs 2). In" The Awakening" Chopin sought to express her feelings about female sexuality and independence. In doing so, she destroyed her career as a writer (Toth). She was later able to publish more articles as a writer, she could have changed, but what good would that do if she could not express her true beliefs. In "The Story of an Hour" she was expressing everything she wanted about women who were trapped in a marriage that they would like to get out of, but couldn't because of social and public humiliation (Chopin 13).

In writing about certain issues in a particular era was especially hard for a woman to do. Kate Chopin was very independent and outspoken, and for her time that was brave. The fact of the matter is, she loved to write, so that is what she did. She wanted women of that era to get out and do more of what they wanted to do, and to be self-sufficient in life.

Chopin had a lot of stories she wanted to write but because of her explicit style she did not publish very many. The public didn't like her out spoken approach to her stories. She was banned from the St. Louis Fine Art Club and she was very hurt. She wrote only short stories for the last five years of her life. This being one of the consequences for defying societal rules (Wyatt). Chopin wrote rapidly without hardly any revision, working at home surrounded by her children and family. She still was family oriented although everyone close to her had died.

Chopin was very smart and she thought she could get her feelings out on paper without all the questions and isolation, but learned quickly that society wanted it their way (Wyatt). The public will not accept stories about things they don't approve of. The feminists of today love Chopin because she was so outspoken, and told it like it was. Chopin was not trying to be popular she just wanted to express herself and let people know what she thought. Her stories were ways of letting people know her view of women's feelings and the racism of her time. Chopin's family was slave holders and supported the south (Wyatt). Chopin was against the slavery but she couldn't do anything at the time except write about it. She began telling her stories in order to let people know what was going on in the south.

Chopin's grandmother died in 1863, shortly before her half brother died of typhoid fever during the war. Her best friend had to leave the south because she was black. Chopin experienced so much pain it created strong feelings against religion, and she expressed these feelings in the stories of the people around her. All her stories are based on real events that happened in her life. She wanted to get across to the public that women were more than just a slave to their husbands and children and that they could do all the things that were expected of them and still lead independent lives.