Kate Chopin’s ‘‘A Point at Issue!’’ appeared, along with ‘‘Wiser than a God,’’ in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on October 27, 1889. Its publication marked the beginning of a decade of literary work by the author that culminates in her controversial masterpiece The Awakening. ‘‘A Point at Issue!,’’ which now can be found in her Collected Works, announces Chopin’s interest in the dynamics of male-female relationships, a subject she would explore in various ways throughout the body of her work.
The relationship at the heart of ‘‘A Point at Issue!’’ is that of Charles and Eleanor Faraday, who pride themselves on their progressive attitude toward marriage. Determined to maintain their independence, they embark on a test of their resolve, which involves a long period of separation. While they are able to withstand the social pressure to conform to traditional gender roles, they ultimately cannot ignore the dictates of their own hearts. Charles and Eleanor’s developing relationship illuminates the human desires that inevitably complicate the quest for freedom.