|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Women Feminism Relationship Kate Chopin Character analysis|
Some of the short stories by Kate Chopin address women's sexual imagery and symbolism. The author uses complex characters in her short stories to address marriages and centers her thoughts on the role of a wife because at the time women were defined by that role (Chopin 31). Unlike the other authors who show matrimony as flowery and romantic, Kate Chopin brings out the painful sides of marriages experienced at the time. During her time, women were expected to submit to their husbands depriving them of their freedom to even express themselves (Chopin 33).
In her stories, she shows how the social politics of marriage and motherhood offered no kind of independence and adulthood (Chopin 33). Marriage instead of oppressed and restricted women within the boundaries of matrimony; thus, the author sought to express the rights of women or rather wives as the first wave of feminism was witnessed. For example in her story, the Storm showed how the main character Calixta, a traditional housewife who was so immersed in her chores that she took no notice of the coming storm (Chopin 131). In the story, she shows the repression housewives went through and argued that marriage was supposed to liberate somehow because the presence of a husband would mean that the duties were shared among the two. During the author's time, however, all the responsibilities of a household were left to the wives while the husbands went off to work in plantations or far away from home with the excuse that they are providing for the family. Thus, women were left with little time to themselves (Chopin 132). Reflecting on Kate Chopin's personal story, she was not able to write any story during her marriage years and only did so later after her husband had died and the children were more grown.
The author's second argument on marriage was that it was supposed to create a conjugal atmosphere between the wife and the husband. The women in her stories love their husbands, but no intimacy was witnessed in their marriages (Chopin 138). In all of Kate Chopin's stories, the characters do not explicitly express the feelings of their sex life, but they all seem to lack a desire for each other. The author shows that there is no passion in the marriages even if love exists; thus it shows how marriages deprived couples of happiness, especially at the time because women were repressed (Chopin 201).
Kate Chopin compares to her protagonist, Edna in the novella, Awakening which was greatly influenced by her personal life (Eble 261). The novella was however received with criticisms and considered inappropriate because it portrayed the pursuit of women for sexual desires and unfitting desires, which was considered a taboo at the time. The author's personal life allowed her to think independently as a woman because no male was controlling her life from the tender age of five, which she portrays in her character, Edna (Eble 261). Just like her protagonist, she believed in a society where women were independent which the role represents in her unconventional ways by rejecting control and influence by men. She instead pursues her own and newly discovered cravings and yearnings (Eble 262). Just like Chopin who gets into another relationship when her husband dies, Edna also gets involved with other men to fulfill her sexual desires. The author like her character was a mother and a wife; thus, she knew the demands and restrictions that the role came with. In the novella, she portrays the character's desire to be removed from the societal pressures that govern the women and to some extent at the expense of the women's life because, in the end, Edna takes her own life (Eble 263). The author had a passion for arts, that is writing which went hand in hand with her sexual desires and is mirrored by Edna in the Awakening where her hobby of painting begins after she is involved with another man (Eble 264).
Eble, Kenneth. "A Forgotten Novel: Kate Chopin's the Awakening." Western Humanities Review 10 (1956): 261-269.
Chopin, Kate. Kate Chopin: The Complete Novels and Stories. Book House Publishing, 2016.
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