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Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin

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Kate Chopin

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  1. Kate Chopin 1851-1904

  2. She was born Katherine O’Flaherty in St. Louis Missouri. • Her father was an Irish immigrant and wealthy businessman. Her mother was from a family of French Creole aristocrats. • At 19 she married Oscar Chopin, a French Creole from New Orleans, who was a cotton trader.

  3. The couple lived in New Orleans for ten years before moving to a plantation in northwestern Louisiana. • Oscar died in 1883 of swamp fever, leaving Kate to run the plantation, and raise their six children on her own.

  4. Chopin remained in Louisiana for a year, but finally moved back to St. Louis to be closer to her mother. • Her mother died suddenly in 1885 • Chopin became very depressed and her doctor urged her to begin writing as a type of therapy.

  5. She published a poem when she was 38 followed by some short stories. In 1890, she published her first novel. • Chopin’s stories dealt mainly with life in Louisiana, specifically creoles.

  6. In 1889 she published her finest novel The Awakening. The theme of the novel is the suppression of women in the Victorian era. Critics called it “sordid” and “vulgar.” The book was banned and Chopin was shunned by many of her friends. • Chopin was so disheartened by this that Chopin wrote very little before her death in 1904

  7. Because The Awakening had damaged her reputation, her work was ignored for decades after her death. It was rediscovered during the women’s movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s.