Kate Chopin’s Best Books 📚

Kate Chopin wrote two novels during her career and numerous short stories, most of which have been published in two collections of her work.

Kate Chopin

(1850-1904), American

She’s best known for writing about women’s lives and rights in the late 19th century and focusing on female protagonists who find themselves struggling against society’s expectations of them. Chopin wrote around a hundred short stories during the 1890s, some of which are also discussed below.

The Awakening 

The Awakening is certainly Kate Chopin’s best-known and most commonly read novel. The book was published in 1899 and is regarded as one of the most important feminist novels of 19th-century American literature. The novel follows a female protagonist, Edna Pontellier, who lives with her husband and children in Louisiana. 

When the novel opens, she’s in Grand Isle, a vacation community. Her day-to-day life there is simple, and readers start to see snippets of her unhappiness as a mother and wife. As the novel progresses, she makes the life-changing decision to move into a new home, separate from her husband and children, and pursue a career as an artist. Identity and freedom are two of the most important themes in ‘The Awakening.’ They are both embodied through this well-known quote from the novel

She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.

She explores her freedom, affairs, and what the future could look like all while dealing with an unshakeable depression that eventually leads to the novel’s deeply sad conclusion.

At Fault 

At Fault‘ is another Kate Chopin novel. It was published in 1890, nearly ten years before ‘The Awakening,’ but uses the same matter-of-fact and realistic style. The novel focuses on a young woman who has been windowed. It’s set in St. Louis, Missouri, in the 19th century and follows Therese Lafirme, who is left alone to run her plantation. She falls in love with a divorced man and, despite her love, finds it impossible to remarry him as she disagrees with the ethics of divorce. Here is an example of Chopin’s writing style

Thérèse had not reached the age of thirty-five without learning that life presents many insurmountable obstacles which must be accepted, whether with the callousness of philosophy, the revolt of weakness, or the dignity of self-respect.

The novel is usually regarded as an important, early discussion of divorce and its ethics. Most of the characters speak different languages and are influenced by the many cultures living in Missouri at the time. 

A Night in Acadie

A Night in Acadie is one of Chopin’s collections of short stories. It includes twenty-one incredible short stories that were written. 

The book includes the following stories: 

Azélie

This is one of Chopin’s stories that involve women experiencing real, passionate love, something that’s far different than the reality that many 19th-century women lived with. 

At Chênière Caminada

At Chênière Caminada is based around a Louisiana town that was destroyed in 1893 in an incredibly dangerous hurricane. Grand Isle, the resort community that features heavily in ‘The Awakening,’ was almost destroyed at the same time. It’s believed that nearly 800 people were killed. 

Regret

Regret was a short story published in 1897 in ‘A Night in Acadia (unlike many of the short stories that appeared in other publications prior to a collection). The story follows an unmarried woman, Mamzelle Aurélie, who, over the course of the novel, realizes that she regrets never marrying and having her own children. 

A Matter of Prejudice

A Matter of Prejudice is another short story from Kate Chopin’s ‘A Night in Acadia.’ The story takes place in the French Quarter of New Orleans and flows Madame Carambeau, an African immigrant. 

Bayou Folk 

Bayou Folk was Kate Chopin’s first short story collection, published in 184. It included some of her most important short stories, including the following: 

Désirée’s Baby

Désirée’s Baby is one of Chopin’s better-known short stories. It is set before the American Civil War and focuses on issues of race and parenthood. 

The Story of an Hour 

The Story of an Hour is very likely Chopin’s most commonly read short story. It’s only a few paragraphs long and takes place over the course of an hour. When the story begins, a young wife finds out that her husband has died in a train accident. What begins as predictable grief ends in elation as she realizes that she’s finally free to live for herself. Things take a shocking turn in the last few lines of the story when Mrs. Mallard’s husband walks in through the door. 

The Storm 

The Storm is another well-known Chopin novel. It is considered a sequel to At the ‘Cadian Ball,’ which was written several years earlier. The story takes place in the 19th century and deals with sexuality and the enjoyment of sexual acts. It was published after Chopin’s death. 

FAQs

What is Kate Chopin’s best book? 

Kate Chopin’s best book is generally considered to be ‘The Awakening.’ It takes place in Louisiana in the late 19th century and follows a young mother and wife who, unhappy with her life, decides to pursue personal freedoms. 

How many novels did Kate Chopin write? 

Kate Chopin only published two novels in her career, ‘The Awakening and ‘At Fault.’ Today, she’s just as well-known for her many short stories as she is for her novels. 

What is Kate Chopin’s most famous work?

Kate Chopin’s most famous work is her novel ‘The Awakening published in 1899. Although today it’s considered her best, when it was published, it was deemed morally inappropriate for its depiction of a married woman having an affair. 

Is The Awakening by Kate Chopin a true story?

No, the story of ‘The Awakening is not true, but there are suggestions that Chopin based the story on a woman who lived in New Orleans and experienced some similar events in her life. 

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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