English 112 SP-13
April 23, 2013
Kate Chopin: A Stormy Life
Kate Chopin wrote nearly 100 short stories and published two novels in the late nineteenth century. Even in the early twentieth century, society was still not ready for most of her strong ideas toward women’s freedom and sexuality. Sadly, Chopin suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died in 1904, never having an opportunity to see the realization of the complicated, self-minded women that she dared write about, being celebrated rather than ostracized. She draws her stories from her own life, as many of them mirror events she experienced. Her keen eyes and ears make her storytelling come alive. Many are filled with the uniqueness of the Louisiana Bayou. Katherine O’Flaherty was born in St Louis to socially prominent parents. Her mother, Eliza Faris O’Flaherty was of French-Creole descent, and her father Thomas, was an Irish immigrant who was a very successful commission merchant. Chopin’s great-grandmother Mme. Victoria Verdan Charleville, lived with her up until her death when Chopin was thirteen. Her great-grandmother early on saw the artistic and intellectual capacity within her and insisted upon directing her studies. She molded Chopin’s interests in the details of history, art and music. Her grandmother was assertive in overseeing her piano lessons as well as her French instruction, this being especially important in their bilingual family. It is not surprising that Kate Chopin writes her stories about strong, sensitive women; she spent her youth surrounded by them (Davis). Chopin was able to understand the complexities of women in ways others were not ready for during her lifetime. She attended St. Louis Academy of the Sacred Heart from 1855-1868, where she forged deep relationships with many of the sisters. Her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother raised her to grow into an independent-minded, educated woman in a time when most girls did not receive any...
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