Kate Chopin - Her Literary Impact on the Women's Liberation Movement
Katherine O'Flaherty, known by her married name Kate Chopin, was one of the firmest feminist writers that the nineteenth century witnessed. She was born on 8th February, 1851, in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother was a French American and her father was an immigrant Irishman who died when she was only five. After the death of her father, Kate’s household consisted of her widowed mother, her widowed grandmother and her widowed great-grandmother. It was these strong widows who encouraged her to become intellectual, resourceful and independent. Kate’s household thus lacked a male role model and men as central figures as she grew up. This led her being uninformed about the social concept, the submission of women to men in those days. This served as a great influence on Kate as a writer.
During Kate’s time women suffered from self-repression, low self esteem, no individual identity and were living in oppression. At such a time when the opinion of a woman was never asked even if the case involved decision making regarding matters that concerned them, Kate started writing about women’s sexuality and gave attention to the slavery of muted voice that the women were entrapped in. She brought in and blended the themes of modernism, realism and naturalism in her writings. These were the reasons why her works were refused to be published and she remained unknown in her time.
“In 1890, came her first novel, At Fault. The book was privately published and paid for by Chopin herself. It did receive many negative reviews because it involves women alcoholism and affairs.” (Anonymous)
In another book, “The Story of an Hour”, Chopin has introduced a character, Mrs. Millard, who relishes the freedom after her husband’s death and dies when her husband returns in the end of the book. This relates to many women who actually undergo a two sided feeling at the time of their husband’s death. Chopin understood all...