What issue, whether historical, political, cultural, or gendered, does Kate Chopin explore in her works?  How does this issue influence her writing?Speciifc works that she has written and her...

What issue, whether historical, political, cultural, or gendered, does Kate Chopin explore in her works?  How does this issue influence her writing?

Speciifc works that she has written and her relative time period.

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In works such as The Awakening, "The Storm," and "The Story of an Hour" Kate Chopin explores what we, today, would label feminist issues, which of course fall into the gender category you mention in your question.

The women in her stories live in a male-centered world, and are stifled by their societies.  The convention of marriage, for example, stifles women, forcing them to conform to not only their husbands, but to society, as well.  Society dictates what a married woman should think and how she should behave, and Chopin's protagonists rebel against these norms, sometimes passively and sometimes aggressively.

Society's double standard is revealed in Chopin's works, as well.  Desires for freedom, sexual and otherwise, that society allows men to explore, are denied to women.  Chopin's women attempt to, or at least hope to, fulfill these forbidden desires. 

Feminist issues dominate Chopin's work, and appear to be the reason she wrote.  In fact, if there is a knock on Chopin's fiction, it is probably that her works may be a bit didactic, a bit designed to teach a lesson, as opposed to being designed to reveal human existence. 

In "The Storm," for instance, the closing paragraph ties the strands of the story together so neatly that it seems a bit convenient--not only are the two married characters that just beautifully fulfilled a dormant sexual desire better off, but so are their spouses.  Everybody is happier and everybody is better off!  It's a bit contrived, and seems designed to prove a point.

Read the study guide:
The Story of an Hour

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