Other books byKate Chopin
The author who today is probably best known for her novel The Awakening initially established her literary reputation with short stories about life in rural Louisiana during the late nineteenth century. Born Katherine O'Flaherty in St. Louis, Missouri, she later married Oscar Chopin, a Creole cotton trader and commission merchant, and lived in and around New Orleans for more than a decade until her husband's death. During these years, while raising six children on a Southern plantation, Chopin became acquainted with Creoles, Cajuns, and newly freed blacks. After her husband's death she returned to St. Louis and began writing, drawing from her recent experience in Louisiana to create her fiction. The stories collected in Bayou Folk present remarkably vivid snapshots of daily life in a now vanished world. Many of them highlight the relations between blacks and whites in a society where the rules of engagement still reflected the entrenched patterns of slavery some two decades after the Civil War. As she was ahead of her time regarding women's rights in The Awakening, where she depicted a woman unafraid to throw off traditional restraints, Chopin was also farsighted about race relations in Bayou Folk. Perhaps the story "Desiree's Baby" about the birth of a mixed-race baby to two "white" parents best expresses the uneasy relationship between blacks and whites in the old South, and the moral outrage of its strict codes against miscegenation. Chopin's gifts for capturing the dialects of the region and for telling a compelling story in memorable vignettes provide the reader with a richly rewarding experience.
The Awakening and Selected Stories
The Awakening shocked turn-of-the-century readers and reviewers with its treatment of sex and suicide. In a departure from literary convention, Kate Chopin failed to condemn her heroine's desire for an affair with the son of a Louisiana resort owner, whom she meets on vacation. The power of sensuality, the delusion of ecstatic love, and the solitude that accompanies the trappings of middle- and upper-class convention are themes of this now-classic novel. The book was influenced by French writers ranging from Flaubert to Maupassant, and can be seen as a precursor of the impressionistic, mood-driven novels of Virginia Woolf and Djuna Barnes. Variously called "vulgar," "unhealthily introspective," and "morbid," the book was neglected for several decades, not least because it was written by a "regional" woman writer.
A Vocation and a Voice
Published for the first time as Chopin intended, this is a collection of her most innovative stories, including "The Story of an Hour," "An Egyptian Cigarette," and "The Kiss."
CliffsComplete The Awakening
In the CliffsComplete guides, the novel's complete text and a glossary appear side-by-side with coordinating numbered lines to help you understand unusual words and phrasing. You'll also find all the commentary and resources of a standard CliffsNotes for Literature. CliffsComplete The Awakening offers insight and information into a work considered scandalous when it arrived from the turn-of-the-20th-century presses. Every generation since has been able to identify with some social or thematic aspect of the novel. Discover what happens to this heroine who found her husband dull, married life dreary and confining, and motherhood to be bondage — and save valuable studying time — all at once. Enhance your reading of The Awakening with these additional features: A summary and insightful commentary for each chapter Bibliography and historical background on the author, Kate Chopin A look at late-19th-century intellect, religion, politics, and society Coverage of Chopin's career and reaction to the novel A character map that graphically illustrates the relationships among the characters Review questions, a quiz, discussion guide, and activity ideas A Resource Center full of books, articles, films, and Web sites Streamline your literature study with all-in-one help from CliffsComplete guides!