Women’s History Month: focus on Kate Chopin

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Kate O’Flaherty Chopin [1857-1904]

–born to prosperous St. Louis family
–married at twenty-one, lived with her husband in Reconstruction Louisiana on the family plantation in New Orleans for 12 years
–had six children
–her husband died in 1882 and she returned to St. Louis and began writing about her experience in the Bayou.
–she wrote short stories for magazines including Atlantic, Harper’s and Vogue and a novel called At Fault [1890]

awakening

–After the publication of her novel The Awakening [1899] with themes of depression, sexual awakening and suicide, she became ostracized and never wrote again.

“There were days when she was very happy without knowing why. She was happy to be alive and breathing, when her whole being seemed to be one with the sunlight, the color, the odors, the luxuriant warmth of some perfect Southern day. She liked then to wander alone into strange and unfamiliar places. She discovered many a sunny, sleepy corner, fashioned to dream in. And she found it good to dream and to be alone and unmolested.

There were days when she was unhappy, she did not know why—when it did not seem worth while to be glad or sorry, to be alive or dead; when life appeared to her like a grotesque pandemonium and humanity like worms struggling blindly toward inevitable annihilation.”

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