Character Analysis within Kate Chopin's Literary Works

Essay by phishstyxzCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2003

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The female characters portrayed in Kate Chopin's literary works are insecure, unsatisfied, unsettled, and searching for a personal identity free from societal pressures and influences. Chopin's works, "The Storm," "The Story of an Hour," and The Awakening, express the women protagonists' quests for individuality and their equal desires to overcome societal pressures. Kate Chopin acknowledges sexuality in women and women's rights in a time period where these were unspoken and unacceptable.

In "The Storm," Calixta is unaware of the passion and sexuality within her although she is married and has a child. Her sexuality is repressed by society's view on women and by the constraints of her marriage. The women of this society are strongly associated with housework; the emphasis on keeping the Sunday clothes clean indicates the strong emphasis that the society places upon the church. Since she is now married, Calixta's passion, held back before marriage by society's views on premarital sex and virginity, can now be expressed by both Calixta and Alcee, her ex- boyfriend.

They withdraw from societal constraints and the boundaries of their marriages, and Calixta can now experience her birthright of passion and feminine sexuality and explore it further than she had ever done before. Chopin presents the incident that the storm prevails through Calixta's own passion and sexuality.

In her literary work, Kate Chopin demonstrates that society is unwilling to admit that feminine sexuality exists by describing the lovemaking of Calixta and Alcee with an open sensuousness that would have been inappropriate at the time. Chopin implies that female sexuality is pure and sinless, and Calixta's passion should be experienced without shame.

Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," realistically confronts the possibilities that life gives individual consciousness, and individual choice. "When the doctors came they said she had dies of...