KATE CHOPIN SPENT HER LIFE in St. Louis. Her mother, Eliza Faris O’Flaherty, was the daughter of a French family with history dating back to the founding of St. Louis. Her early life and her mature experience in St. Louis influenced her perception of the human condition. A community of writers and intellectuals in St. Louis supported and shaped her literary life and she hosted a literary salon. During the 1890s, Chopin wrote more than 100 short stories. Critics warmly praised the collection of Creole tales published as “Bayou Folk” in 1894.
Chopin’s second novel, “The Awakening,” published in 1899, won her a place in history, both as a writer and as a critic of women’s roles in the family and the community. The book portrayed the inner life of a woman who rejected her role as a businessman’s ornamental wife, but failed to define a place for herself in a judgmental community. The novel challenged conventional values and shocked many critics. Scholars have speculated about the extent to which the author’s own married life resembled the sad marriage in “The Awakening,” but there is no definitive answer to this question.
Chopin ultimately gained fame as a realist rather than a local color writer, a novelist rather than a short-story writer and a modernist rather than a teller of sentimental tales.
Kate Chopin died in August 22,1904 at the age of 54