Kate Chopin (1851-1904)

The Story of an Hour (1894)

Kate Chopin:

1851.. Born Kate O’Flaherty in St. Louis, Missouri of Creole* descent. Father is businessman who emigrated from Ireland. Mother is member of French community in St. Louis.

1868.. Graduated from Sacred Heart Academy.

1870.. Married Oscar Chopin and settled in New Orleans then moved to other places. Had 5 sons and 1 daughter by the age of 28.

1879.. Moved with her husband and 6 children to manage plantations in Louisiana.

1882.. Oscar died, two years later she moved back to her mother’s in St. Louis. A year later, mother died.

As treatment to her depression at the death of her husband and mother, doctor prescribed writing, thus began her writing career.

1899.. Her novel, The Awakening, was published and received criticism for its loose moral issues. It is now considered her best work: a novel about a dissatisfied wife who insists on her independence.

1904.. Died in St. Louis of Cerebral Hemorrhage

* Creole are of mixed French, Spanish, African American, and Native American heritage. Descendents from settlers in Colonial French Louisiana before it became part of the USA.

 

The Story of an Hour:

Initially published in Vogue magazine as “The Dream of an Hour.”

Narrator: 3rd person omniscient narrator

Characters:

Protagonist: Mrs. Mallard (Louise)

Brently Mallard: her husband

Josephine: her sister

Richard: Brently’s friend.

Setting: Late 19th century. The Mallards house

Themes:

Identity, especially that of women in the 19th century.

Dreams and fate’s ironic way of fulfilling them.