Kate Chopin: A Pioneer Realist in the Emancipation

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Kate Chopin was one of the strongest feminist writers of the late nineteenth century. Impressed by the literary work of her predecessors on the frustration and estrangement of women, Chopin started her writing career paying prominent attention to the immutable nature of women-sexuality, a boldness that was rare in her time. Such topics were almost exclusively reserved for men with highly estimable literary careers. This explains why Chopin?s works were refused publication in her time and she was not celebrated while she lived irrespective of her renowned style and acclaimed techniques. In her work, she combined themes of realism, naturalism, and modernism in the portrayal of human existence.

During the nineteenth century, women were living in bondage. They were entrapped in the slavery of muted voice, self-repression, low-self esteem, and lack of individual identity. Women were regarded by society as a piece of property men possessed and used for their selfish gratification.

Women?s opinions were never sought and their feelings were never considered in deciding matters that concerned them. In short, societal norms determined women?s entire lives.

These conventions destroyed women?s inalienable rights such as freedom of speech, choice, movement, and inflicted on them an inferiority complex and a guilty conscience at the expression of independence and freedom. It should be noted that what is being destroyed here are realistic parts of women?s value and psyche, which are at the core of their being. Men regulated women?s lives and decided the characteristics of an ideal woman. Thus, women had no choice but to conform to these ideals, or be cast as social outlaws.

Societal rules and expectations inhibited women from utilizing their inner strength and yearning to live their lives fully. For instance, society frowns at a woman caught in adultery, but says nothing to a man caught in the...