Analysis of Kate Chopin's Writing

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  • Topic: Woman, The Blind, Feminism
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Bailey Weber
Todoran
Period-8
3/4/12
Kate Chopin
Many people look at Kate Chopin’s writing as all one sided for womens’ rights. The idea of her being a woman and wanting gender equality blinds people about a more important message. This message is that all people have faults about them and that some men can be strong and some can be weak, and the same goes for women. Humans, more or less human nature itself, have many flaws about them. Kate Chopin uses figurative language to create a main character or idea that tries to overcome an obstacle or oppressor of some sort.

Kate Chopin uses figurative language, mostly commonly imagery, metaphors, and personification, to develop her flawed characters and ideas. In “A Harbinger” Bruno looks at the church where “[someone else] had gathered this wildflower for his own…to have been only love’s harbinger after all!” The metaphor comparing Diantha to a wild flower makes her seem so beautiful and it magnifies the mistake that Bruno made, which is waiting too long for her to come to him. Juanita, the main character in “Juanita” is described as “very shy…five-feet-ten, and more than two-hundred pounds of substantial flesh…” This is good use of imagery which describes Juanita as beautiful, but overweight. The part about being overweight is a major flaw which she possesses, but seems to be beneficial compared the standards of the men in her town. The blind man in “The Blind Man” while trying to sell pencils to make a living had “Hunger, with sharp fangs, [that] was gnawing at his stomach and a consuming thirst parched his mouth and tortured him. The sun was broiling.” The personification gives the reader a horrible sense of how the hunger feels to the blind man, and it makes the sun seem hotter than what it really is. The title, “The Blind Man” tells the reader what the flaw about the man is too. It is self-explainable. He is blind. Joyce Dyer, a literary criticist, claims that Chopin uses imagery in order to create southern settings that relate to the characters and writing style and that affect the plot line (Dyer 447). Thomas Schoenberg and Lawrence Trudeau, editors, say that Chopin should use a more forward and agressive approach to developing Chopin’s characters (“Awakening” 145). In “The Night Came Slowly” a voice comes into the speaker’s head and says, “Why do fools cumber the earth…A man came to-day with his ‘Bible Class.’ He is detestable with his red cheeks and bold eyes and coarse manner and speech.” The metaphors make man seem worse than what he really is. The idea that man is flawed is a flaw because the speaker, who is a man, should not go against his own species. It is like tyranny. The girl in “Ripe Figs” was very impatient when she went to see if the figs had grown yet so that she could go to see her cousins, “Every day Babette…disconsolate away again.” The imagery described well how optimism that young children have is a major reason for disappointment. In “The Kiss” Nathalie, the girl that Brintain was courting in the beginning, eyes “[are] bright…the kiss which they invited.” The personification describes Nathalie as wanting to kiss Mr. Harvy and cheat on her husband. Figurative language used by Kate Chopin develops the characters and ideas with their flaws.

Kate Chopin’s short stories are revolved around flawed ideas and characters. Cynthis Wolf, a literary criticist, claims that Chopin’s writing is similar to other American feminist writers who also revolve there stories around detrimental figures. She says that the difference is that the other writers concentrate more on a direct approach and attack the male gender and make the females seem helpless (Wolf 220). Bruno in the story “A Harbinger” loves Diantha but he does not go after her, “And then there was the gentle Diantha…another flashed into them…Bruno sighed a good deal over his work that winter.” Her absence causes Bruno to be sad during the winter. In “Juanita” Juanita is fat, which is a flaw, but...
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