Kate Chopin: A Woman Ahead Of Her Time

1983 words - 8 pages

Kate Chopin a Woman Ahead of Time

In the 1800's married women had to submit to their husbands. Woman who got married had no voice with law. This meant their husbands would have to take legal action for them. Wives did not have any rights to their own property, and they would not have right to wages they earn. But these started to change through feminist women who raised their voice against men. Even though the feminist movement started in the 1960's, there were women ahead of this time that were feminist too. In her short story, "Story of an Hour", and novel "The Awakening", Kate Chopin explores the themes of woman rebellion against their husbands, and woman becoming independent from their husbands. Even though Kate Chopin was born in 1850 she was a feminist writer. Kate was a woman ahead of time, and most of her writing portrays feminism. There were three main facts that made Kate write about these themes; First was the role models that she had in her family, second the hard life she had, and third her education.

According to the on line Merriam Webster dictionary feminism is "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes." Feminism also involves the idea of woman having more than one sexual partner. According the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, woman became more sexually active during the 1980's. The idea of women having more than one sexual partner was partially accepted only in the 1980's. Almost eight decades before this happened Kate Chopin completely inspected and accepted this idea. In "The Awakening", Edna Pontellier is a perfect example of this. Edna decides to have sex with a man that is not her husband, and she does not feel ashamed of it.

In "The Storm" Kate also describes a woman, Calixta, that has interest in a man that is not her husband. Kate relates the story of how Calixta gets involved with M'sieur Alcee. Kate is very explicit in this story. "When he touched her breasts they gave themselves up in quivering ecstasy, inviting his lips. Her mouth was a fountain of delight. And when he possessed her, they seemed to swoon together at the very borderland of life's mystery." (Chopin, 122) Kate was strongly criticized by society when she presented explicit material. Kate was criticized by "The Storm", but it was "The Awakening" Kate's most criticized story. After she published it, it became impossible for Chopin to publish her later work. Chopin was censored because of her explicitness in her writing and also because at that time women were supposed to have only one sexual partner. At that time Society did not believe in feminism. Her novel was out of print for several decades, because society questioned Chopin's moral values in her writing. But all of Chopin's writings are now available.

Contrary to some of her characters Kate was not an independent woman. She was only twenty years old when she got married, and in a period of seven years she had six children. In her early years Kate was...

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