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How does Kat Chopin Represent Women In her Short Stories

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Introduction

How Does Kate Chopin Represent Women in her Short Stories By Oliver Flint How Does Kate Chopin Represent Women in her Short Stories I will be focusing on two of Kate Chopin's works, A Pair of Silk Stockings and D�sir�e's Baby. But, Before you can understand the stories you must first understand the writer and her social background. Chopin lived in a period of history that both undervalued and objectified women. A girl belonged to her family until she was married, and after marriage she belonged to her husband. Women were expected to be adornments for their husband's arm, like jewellery to act any differently was almost taboo. Furthermore the laws of the time restricted women as well, The Louisiana Code (article 1124) judged women "Incompetent of making a contract" and judged to be as competent as children and the mentally infirm! Kate herself lived in a French-Creole society one of far greater constrictions and expectations of women. Women's fidelity were not doubted and women were expected to be totally honest and truthful at all times they were not meant to keep secrets from other Creole women. If a wife had a talent like painting or singing then she would not be credited for it, most likely her husband would be acclaimed as lucky. Chopin's life was a comfortable one speckled with tragic events her father died in 1855 when Chopin was only four years old. It may have been this release from the male oppression in her life that caused her to se how twisted the times really were, and may have caused her to write in the rebellious, feminist and passionate style she did. The time she wrote in was one of tension, a clash of different cultures, a transition between traditional and modern. ...read more.

Middle

Sommers "carries them without wrapping" just to show her new "high priced magazines" to other fashionable ladies. She also "lifted her skirts at crossings" (because the style at the time was long dresses that reached down to just above the ground, and would be lifted so as not to get the hems dirty) but when she "lifted her skirts" she shows her "stockings and boots" maybe she is deliberately doing so like with the magazines. Chopin mentions how she had acquired a "sense of assurance" meaning that she feels far more comfortable in the new life she has created for herself. And feels much more at home with the "well dressed multitude" she is now likened to. Chopin Mentions how Mrs. Sommers is feeling hungry and how she would normally wait "until reaching her own home" and would have eaten "anything that was available" indicating again, how she would fight to save every penny. But her new found personality she decides to eat at a "restaurant" that she had "never entered" another reference to how she was restricted to a particular lifestyle. Chopin mentions how she had seen inside to "shining crystal" and "soft stepping waiters" she makes use of alliteration and the sibilant s to reinforce this point it is like Mrs. Somers was seeing a window to a better life( this is written in the past tense not the present like the rest of the story indicating that she is remembering rather than describing her feelings at that point) When she enters she orders food that she would defiantly nit have eaten at home, "half a dozen blue points" (oysters) and other continental foods (probably because of the Creole background) ...read more.

Conclusion

She insists that she is white, she seizes "his wrist" and says " look at my hand; whiter than yours" which is in fact the truth. Armand, retorts "As white as Le Blanches" meaning the Quadroon slave mistress. D�sir�e is hurt by this comment, and after a short argument she leaves on Armand's Wishes this highlights, yet again, how men control the fate's of the women they associate with. Like with A Pair of Silk Stockings Chopin leaved the ending open. Instead of returning to "the Plantation of Valmonde" she walks into the marshes wearing only a "thin white garment" showing again the purity of her whiteness. Chopin again notes how her hair is a Caucasian "brown". Chopin notes how "she did not come back again" again a ambiguous exit for a character. Unlike A Pair of Silk Stockings the story goes on and confirms what the reader should have concluded that D�sir�e is, in fact, purely Caucasian. And Armand's mysterious mother was black or more eloquently as Chopin puts it "belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery" Chopin's works cover many aspects of her life and times, how women are oppressed, how extreme prejudice was exercised upon the slaves, how women yearn for their freedom, in short she highlighted the stunted nature of her social background. A lot of Chopin's work was thought provocative and groundbreaking. In truth she opened peoples mind's to the possibilities of that the women and slaves could offer, and paved the way for other woman's and human rights protesters. Her style of writing is perfect. She writes in a manner that portrays the story clearly and descriptively while giving clues and hints, to the attentive reader, that give far greater depth and richness to her creations. ...read more.

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