There are many women who fought for their rights at the turn of the century, such as Alice Paul, Margret Sanger, and Susan B. Anthony. Kate Chopin didn’t really fight women’s rights; she brought out to light the gender issues that were occurring at the time. Chopin also believed that women should have the same rights as men and used her literature to convey her purpose, which made her a key component to the fight against women’s suffrage. What influenced her work so deeply was the fact that she lived around women most of her life, so she saw many generations of women going through a sexist period of time. Chopin’s works, from books to short stories, gave women a new perspective as strong, confident, and independent, which contradicted the thought of men being superior, which is why many of her books were rejected. Chopin changed the perspective of women at the time by the portrayal of women in her work, the dilemmas each woman had to face, and how women really felt about society.
In most of her novels, Chopin portrays her female protagonist as always having sexual desires and being rebellious, which was forbidden at the time because it did not follow the morals of society. In one of her novels, The Awakening, Chopin portrays Edna, the protagonist, as an obedient mother and wife, the typical women around this time. As the story continues Chopin makes Edna have sexual desires for someone else as her husband went to Mexico and little by little Edna wants to become independent and live for herself. This proves Chopin’s idea of how women were portrayed in society at the time, but really wanted freedom and a voice. Also, in one of her short stories, “A Respectable Women,” Mrs. Baroda, the protagonist of the story is tempted but suppresses her desire to pursue an affair Gouvernail, but she finally decides to satisfy her desires. In, “The Kiss,” the main character, Nathalie, faces a predicament in which she wants both romance and to be respected, but figures out that she can’t have both. In all three cases, the women choose to ignore the principles of how society was run to achieve their own goals. The message Chopin is trying to convey is how women actually felt during this time period, and weren’t the stereotypical women they were portrayed as.
During Chopin’s time, there were many female authors that concentrated on the same thing, which was the unfairness between men and women at the time. Throughout her literally works, she was able to express her feelings and the feelings of many other women, about the male controlled society. Women at the turn of the century were criticized from all different directions, such as being sexually tempted, race, and roles, which are expressed throughout Chopin’s short stories. Throughout her stories Chopin incorporates little of her life and her perspective of most of the women at the time, which gives her credibility. In the short story, “A Pair of Silk Stockings,” Mrs. Sommers the main character goes through economic problems, in “The Story of an Hour,” Mrs. Louise Mallard the protagonist of the story goes through some marriage Dilemmas which were occurring at the time, and in, “Beyond the Bayou,” Jacqueline or “La Folle” as they called her went through some mental issues. These are some of the many problems that women faced during this time and still were criticized as weak and inferior of men. Chopin states, “Perhaps it’s better to wake up after all, even to suffer than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life.” What she is trying to convey is how bad the situation was and that it would be better to suffer after when everything was done, then to suffer her whole life.
Most of the women at the time were raised to be controlled by men and to be the housewife, babysitter, etc. or the stereotype of women at the time. Women were brainwashed to believe that men had power over them, but in all reality believed that it was morally wrong. Roughly ninety-five percent of women knew it was wrong of what was occurring at the time, but didn’t do anything to help the situation. What Chopin is trying to portray in her stories was that women didn’t want to live by the morals of society; they wanted to have as much freedom as the men had. That is why in all of her stories the protagonist, which are women, rebel against society and their morals. This shows how women really felt about society at the turn of the century, they just wanted a voice.
Kate Chopin definitely was a woman to advance for her time. Kate Chopin may have not changed society as a whole, but it was a dramatic step that led women to their freedom. Chopin’s works of literature portrayed woman as strong and independent with different desires. Chopin as many of the writers of the time brought to light the social issue that was occurring of men being superior and in control of women. What made her work more influential was the fact that she was a woman and lived with woman of many generations. She changed the perspective of woman at time by the way she portrayed them in her works of literature, the problems each women had to face, and the reality of how woman felt.