The Awakening, a fictional novel written by Kate Chopin, was written and takes place in the late 1800s. The story has a strong influence of Creole culture in New Orleans and also has ties to the women’s rights movement which was occurring during this time period.
Creole people are descendants of the French and Spanish settlers but were born in Louisiana. The Creole gentlemen ran their households while they expected the women to do all the work. The women were treated like property and had to deal with their husbands going out gambling, drinking, and to cabarets (Moss 15). Kate Chopin and the women in her novel had plenty of reasons to long for independence and freedom from their men. Kate also had to deal with the Creole-American separation in New Orleans. Her family was forced to live in the American section of the city because they couldn’t prove Oscar Chopin’s Creole heritage (Chopin 6). This was a result of the strict boundaries the Creoles wanted to maintain (Moss 15).
Many women’s rights movements including the Seneca Falls Convention and articles written by Dorthea Dix contributed to Kate Chopin’s life and her writing (Moss 16). The women of the late 1800’s had no rights politically, economically, and even choosing clothing. Fanny Fern, a columnist at The New York Ledger, wrote to argue these rights for women. (Chopin 4). Kate and the characters she wrote about in her novel were just like people she saw in real life.
Kate Chopin’s writing was greatly affected by the time period she lived in. The late 1800’s in New Orleans with the Creole culture is expressed in the Awakening. Kate and the women she wrote about tried to be independent and free from the normal roles of a woman and it is shown clearly in her story.