In Kate Chopin’s time, women were extremely discriminated against. The women of the world did not have their own voices; they were expected to obey their fathers, and their husbands. Chopin was a firm believer in being your own person and although many of the women at this time weren’t brave enough to stand up for themselves and voice their opinions, Chopin did not let that stop her. In the short story, “Regret”, the main character is a woman that was never married and never had children. This lifestyle was not accepted during her time period and her stories were often criticized by believers of the traditional American life. Kate Chopin’s purpose for writing the story was to show how women can be successful without a man telling her what to do all the time.
“Regret” starts out about a woman, Mamzelle Aurélie, that never married, and lived on her own on a farm with just her animals and her slaves. She was fifty years old and still had not regretted her choice of not marrying at age twenty when she was proposed to. One day her neighbor, Odile, came over and pawned off her four children on her. Odile’s mother was ill and in the hospital and she could not afford to take the four children with her so Mamzelle Aurélie was stuck with them for the two weeks she was to be gone. For the first few days, she did not enjoy having the children around, but as the first week went on, she realized that they weren’t half bad. “But little children are not little pigs; they require and demand attentions which were wholly unexpected by Mamzelle Aurélie, and which she was ill prepared to give. She was, indeed, very inapt in her management of Odile’s children during the first few days.”(Chopin). Aurélie soon becomes more and more attached to the children and begins to actually enjoy their company. In the end, when Odile finally comes to get her children again, Aurélie is really upset about them leaving. She cries when they leave and ultimately regrets not having children.
The protagonist of the story, Mamzelle Aurélie, is a strong middle-aged woman in the beginning of the story that is completely without a family, and only lives with her slaves and her farm animals. She was never married and throughout the story never did regret not getting married. After experiencing a two week period with a married woman’s children, she ultimately started to regret her decision of not marrying when she had the chance. In the end, Mamzelle Aurélie was a sad, lonely woman that could not even get comfort from her dog, Ponto.
The antagonist of the story is not an actual character, but the regret itself that Mamzelle Aurélie feels. After living an entire lifetime without a husband or a family, without regretting her decision to not marry, just two weeks ruins her. She begins to feel upset, sad, and lonely living all by herself. The regret that the character feels acts as the antagonist because of how strong Mamzelle Aurélie was in the beginning of the story; to how much it broke her down throughout the rest of the story.