• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analyse three short stories by Kate Chopin

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Analyse three short stories by Kate Chopin. What do you discover about marriage and the lives of women in late nineteenth century USA? From an early age Kate Chopin was exposed to a female dominated environment. Her father died when she was but five years of age, leaving her in the care of her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, all of whom were widowed and strong independent women. Influenced by her family, Chopin grew up as a confident young woman. Her unconventional attitude to life soon became apparent when during the American civil war she supported the rebel South in a Union-supporting city. Chopin's eccentric behaviour gained much disapproval; she walked the streets alone and was the first woman in St Louis to smoke. At the age of twenty, Kate Chopin (previously Katherine O'Flaherty), married a man named Oscar Chopin. We can assume that at this point Chopin was forced to conform to the ways of society and become a more conventional female role model as she fulfilled her duties as a wife and mother to six children. This sudden change in life style may have come as a shock to the once outgoing and strong willed Chopin. However once again her underlying rebelliousness was evident as rumours of an affair surrounded her. Chopin was widowed at the age of thirty two, leaving her with six children, a plantation and a village shop. Chopin's strength of character and independent nature led her to take on her husband's role and manage his business for a further two years before returning to St Louis to live with her mother. ...read more.

Middle

However, to conform to the way of society, women would have to appear content, however neglected and depressed they may feel. This is particularly illustrated by Chopin in the short story 'A Pair of Silk Stockings'. In "A Pair of Silk Stockings", Chopin starts by introducing the main character as being 'Mrs. Sommer's', the use of this title implies she is the property of her husband and no longer has her own identity. Kate Chopin uses Mrs. Sommer's character to illustrate what it may have been like to be unfulfilled in the role of wife and mother in the 19th century. It would appear that, like Chopin, Mrs. Sommers was more content with life prior to marriage. "The neighbours sometimes talked of certain 'better times' that little Mrs. Sommer's had known long before she had even thought of being Mrs. Sommer's". However, Mrs. Sommers does not allow herself to think about this, she appears to exist only in the present and does not allow herself to be consumed with unhappy thoughts of her future existence; "The needs of the present absorbed her every faculty. A vision of the future like some dim, gaunt monster sometimes appalled her, but luckily tomorrow never comes." Chopin uses personification to portray her misery as a monster that she keeps buried and doesn't want to face. Feelings such as these would have been seen as inappropriate for married women and many would have to conceal their unhappiness behind painted smiles. We soon discover that Mrs. Sommers has come into possession of a large sum of money. This would have been unusual for women of that time as all property belonged to their husbands and it was rare for a woman to work and earn any money. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mallard's husband that you discover her maiden name as she is no longer the property of her husband. Like Mrs. Mallard, many women were forced to act the part of a content wife; however, Mrs. Mallards death was her final act of deception as she left her husband and friends believing her death to be the result of overwhelming happiness at the return of her husband. In conclusion, Kate Chopin's stories show us that life for married women in the 1900's was one of repressed individuality and little self-esteem, even if you were fortunate enough to marry for love. Firstly, women had to conform to societies expectations of a wife and mother; this is best illustrated by Kate Chopin in 'Desiree's Baby', when Desiree is not only an object of male desire, but dutiful to the point of death. Secondly, women were forced to suppress their own needs and prioritise the needs of both their husband and their children. Chopin describes to us a day where Mrs. Sommer's steps out of those boundaries and fulfills her own needs rather than the needs of her family. Finally, women are required to lose all sense of self-worth and individuality in entering married life. This is best expressed through 'The Story of an Hour' where Mrs. Mallard experienced rebirth through the supposed death of her husband. However, the shock and disappointment of her husbands' reappearance is too much to bear, and sadly Mrs. Mallard is only able to achieve eternal freedom through death. Kate Chopin's many short stories were shocking to a society that never questioned the dominant status of men in 19th Century USA. ?? ?? ?? ?? Gemma Beech 11AMH English Coursework ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Miscellaneous essays

  1. Analysis of The Voyage by Katherine Mansfield

    You cannot see her thinking about big things or having deep feelings, but if you are careful, you can understand her. She watches when Grandma and Father says goodbye in tears, and "this was so awful that Fenella quickly turned her back on them".

  2. Is The Nightingale and the Rose (Oscar Wilde) just a child's fairy tale or ...

    The Nightingale is asked, not only sing one song, but also sing all night long and give up her life for the rose, the rose motivated her to do it. So not only does the story suggest you should never give up on love but you should be willing to

  1. how does one kate chopin introduce the themes of crossing boundaries in Beyond the ...

    For La Folle the world which had 'looked red turned black'. Here, Chopin is resurrecting La Folle's phobias. For La Folle, these colours have become synonymous with fear and they resemble her mental fears and suffering. La Folle has a huge emotional bond to Cheri, who 'took to her from the first'.

  2. How does Kat Chopin Represent Women In her Short Stories

    which is French for purse, literally meaning caries money. This makes her feel "important" in a way she "had not enjoyed for years" say that she may have had a better lifestyle before she married Mr Sommers and that she may have married beneath her.

  1. Explore the ways in which relationships are shaped and influenced by traditional cultural expectations ...

    When Njabulo made arrangements to marry her, he couldn't offer her parents the customary cow that should have been given in place of Thebedi. This also shows that the customs of the blacks could not be taken under consideration whilst segregation that was going on.

  2. Shades Of Grey- A Short Story

    He wandered if the Watcher on the river co-ordinated these movements, or if these delighted him too, like watching the logs. That night, as Timmy was getting into bed, his father came in. They talked for a while, and Timmy described the dance of the leaves to him, told his

  1. How does James Joyce Portray Women in

    new home, in a distant unknown country it wound not be like that. Then she would be married, she Eveline. People would treat her with respect then. Women are seen merely as cooks, cleaners and mothers. Eveline endures this fate as she is regarded as a mother figure even though

  2. 19th Century Short Stories Coursework

    This is because the reader is constantly reading that it is 'I' doing the action, and this therefore makes the reader believe that they are the protagonists. The author also describes the house to have haunting features such as 'echoing passages', and 'old fashioned furniture' this helps to create an

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work