Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kate Chopin

The writing of Kate Chopin is very similar to transcendental writings in a few good ways. Like Emerson and Thoreau, Chopin greatly valued freedom, and like those transcendentalism writers valued the freedom of the individual. Also similar to Emerson and Thoreau is the way she puts some focus of the focus in her writing on nature. It would be fairly safe to assume from these similarities that these two Transcendentalists had something of an influence on Chopin's writing.

"The Story of an Hour" is a very interesting short story about a woman who is told her husband is dead. After a short cry, she becomes very happy with the news because now she is entirely free to do what she wants. As she is returning from the room she entered to cry in, her husband walks in the door and she dies of a heart attack from the shock of it. She was really overjoyed to be free of her controlling husband, and was looking forward to all of the time she would be able to spend doing just what she wanted. Transcendentalists like Thoreau thought an individual's freedom was the most important thing for a person to have, and wrote all about it in his essay Civil Disobedience. The two are similar because both value the freedom of an individual.

Another similarity between the Transcendentalists and Kate Chopin is the way they write about nature. When the wife in "The Story of an Hour" is looking out her window at the sky and clouds, she tries not to think but through her focus on the natural world outside her window she comes to the realization that she is free. Emerson wrote in his essay Nature that nature is the way to get to a higher understanding of things, especially spiritual things (Wayne). These two authors are similar in their treatment of nature because both see it as a vessel to reach an understanding or realization.



Chopin, Kate. ""The Story of an Hour"" Virginia Commonwealth University. Web. 22 Feb. 2012.

Thoreau, Henry. "Thoreau's Civil Disobedience - 1." The Thoreau Reader. Web. 25
Jan. 2012. http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil1.html.

Wayne, Tiffany K. "Nature." Critical Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 2010. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 15 Feb. 2012. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CCRWE0289&SingleRecord=True.

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