Search For Identity In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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Kate Chopin is well-known writer from the late nineteenth century. She is famous for her novel The Awakening (1899) as well as many short stories, usually written in the setting of the American South, Louisiana region, noticed by her use of dialects. Her works are written in a poetic manner, mainly with a focus on women in her day and the woman in her story’s search for identity and independence. As Chopin was widowed in her early thirties, she raised six children alone, as well as ran her late-husband’s business. Perhaps because of the situation she was personally in, Chopin portrays women as having individual wants and needs, something that at this point in time was not considered correct by society. She writes about fictional situations,…show more content…
In this time period before the abolitionist movement of the twentieth century, blacks in the Deep South, or anywhere in the general southern region of the United States, were slaves and treated like animals. Women that were not of perfect background were discriminated against and as Desiree’s background is not know, and there is question of her marriage with Armand. He fights this talk, saying it does not matter to him and marries her anyways. Very suddenly, about three months after having her baby, Desiree realizes there is something wrong. Once she realizes it is her baby’s skin tone that is the problem, she is brave enough to confront her husband. Armand tells her to go, and “he thought Almighty God had dealt cruelly and unjustly with him; and felt, somehow, that he was paying Him back in kind when he stabbed thus into his wife's soul. Moreover he no longer loved her, because of the unconscious injury she had brought upon his home and his name.” This comes back to haunt him, as this was “his last blow at fate.” He finds in a letter from his mother to his father that it is him that is not of pure white descent. Chopin uses situational irony to sharply ruin Armand and what he stands for. “Armand is the truly tragic mulatto in ‘Desiree’s Baby,’ for he has not only lost his family but has inculcated the racist values which must now lead him to self- loathing” (Pegues 5). Although Desiree is…show more content…
The color white, often a symbol of purity, is repeated often and describes Calixta’s breasts and her bedroom where the act of adultery happens. This may be showing the power that a woman can have, as she has nothing to answer to and seems to be almost dominant in the relationship with Bobinot, as him and Bibi were worried of facing her wrath “Then, prepared for the worst the meeting with an over-scrupulous housewife, they entered cautiously at the back door.” Chopin had an affair with a married man as a widow, so she had seen this side of a relationship and how a man or even woman could return to their family and treat things as if there were no consequences. She is trying to display the fact that a woman having an affair and not regretting it is not such a terrible thing, as society expected women to be faithful above men. This short story is often criticized in the manner in which it ends in no consequences for Calixta or Alcee, although this may not be the case. There may be a hidden side to this story. Chopin is not supporting female liberation, but showing the stereotypical female role. The scene is narrated in third person, but focuses more on how Alcee is seeing

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