Kate Chopin Facts 📝

Kate Chopin was an American author who is best-remembered for her novel The Awakening. She also wrote dozens of short stories, many of which are incredibly popular and are studied in universities around the world.

Kate Chopin

(1850-1904), American

Kate Chopin faced some turbulence in her life with the early death of her father and the later death of her husband of ten years, Oscar. Chopin’s literary career came alive after she was forced to raise her six children on her own and was in desperate need of an income source.

Kate Chopin only wrote two novels

Throughout her career, Kate Chopin wrote far more short stories than she did novels. Her two novels were The Awakening,‘ published in 1899, and At Fault,’ published in 1890. The former is far more popular than the latter. ‘At Fault‘ is about a young widow trying to reconcile her new love, with a divorced man, with her moral principles and her family.

Kate Chopin’s most famous novel is The Awakening

Without a doubt, Kate Chopin’s most famous novel is ‘The awakening.’ This early feminist work of literature was published in 1899 in the midst of Kate Chopin’s successful writing career. It follows a female protagonist, Edna Pontellier, who is married with two sons. As the novel begins, it immediately becomes clear that Edna is suffering from depression and doesn’t understand why exactly she isn’t happy with what, to an outsider, would appear to be an ideal relationship.

As the novel progresses, she comes to realize that she wants increased freedom in her life, which is not usually permitted by the husbands of women in the late 19th century. She eventually leaves her husband and her children to pursue an art career, takes on multiple lovers, and contends with growing depression and feelings of isolation as she’s separated from her community. 

The novel The Awakening‘ is often cited as one of the best and earliest examples of American feminist literature and is read in schools and universities around the world.

Kate Chopin’s father died in a bridge collapse

When Kate Chopin was only five and a half years old, her father died in a tragic bridge collapse. He was on a train, crossing a bridge, when the bridge gave way. She was at boarding school at the time, and after the death of her father, she went home to live with her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother for the next two years. This event is thought to have been incredibly influential on Chopin. 

She grew up surrounded by independent women

When Kate Chopin was very young, she was raised by her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother (following her father’s death). The fact that all three of these women were widows and were smart and independent was incredibly influential on the way she understood the role a woman plays in society. They taught her French, music, and much more.

Kate Chopin raised her six children by herself after her husband died

After her husband died of swamp fever, Kate Chopin was left to raise her six children (five boys and one girl) by herself. Unfortunately, her husband, Oscar, was a poor businessman and did not leave the family with very much money. 

For a time, she attempted to run his general store and the family’s plantation before realizing that she was not capable of providing a sufficient living for her children by herself in this manner. Chopin turned to writing as a way of supporting her six children and managed to do so for the rest of her life. 

Kate Chopin wrote a story that takes place over a single hour

One of Kate Chopin’s most famous stories, ‘The Story of an Hour,’ takes place over an hour in one woman’s life. Because of its brevity, readers receive no background information about who the characters are or how exactly they got to the moment that they’re in. 

When the story starts, the main character, a married woman named Mrs. Mallard, finds out that her husband died in a tragic train accident. Her initial sorrow quickly transforms into elation as she realizes that her life is entirely her own. 

She notes that in the future, she will not have to be guided by any intention, kind or cruel, and will instead chart the course of her own existence. She celebrates her freedom before coming downstairs and seeing her husband walk through the front door. It turns out that he was far from the scene of the train accident and had no idea what was going on. 

This incredible shock, coupled with the immediate realization that her free and happy future has dissipated or is too much for Mrs. Mallard to handle, and she dies from what the story suggests is heart failure.


Who was Kate Chopin? 

Kate Chopin was an American writer who was born in 1850 and passed away in 1904. She spent most of her career writing about life in the American south, particularly in Missouri in Louisiana, and depicting in a semi-fictional manner the lives of the families, especially the women, around her.

Why was Kate Chopin important? 

Kate Chopin is considered to be an incredibly important American writer because of her contributions to early feminist literature. Her short stories and novels engage with interesting and troubled female protagonists and challenge society’s perception of what a married woman should and should not do.

What happened to Kate Chopin’s husband? 

Kate Chopin’s husband, Oscar Chopin, died of swamp fever after the two had been married for around 10 years. She was left to raise their six children by herself. 

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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