If you didn’t know, March is Women’s History Month! We get to learn and discover women of the past who have worked their behinds off to get us where we are today. Things may not be as equal as we’d like, but they most certainly are better than they were, and we owe it to the brave, strong, intelligent women of the past.
In this post, I’d like to talk about my favorite author of all time, Kate Chopin. She was a revolutionary. This incredibly wonderful writer was condemned for being a woman and daring to write such “vulgar” stories. Her work doesn’t praise men, but instead enlightens women, and in the 1890s, her writing was considered morally wrong. I can’t help but think of how proud she would be if she could see the empowerment she has given women with her writing.
I remember reading The Awakening in high school, and so many people questioned the morals of the main character, Edna Pontellier, and even Chopin herself. I however, found the character to be justified her actions and beliefs. If you haven’t read it, you should, and I apologize for spoiling. Edna wasn’t in love with her husband, who constantly left her lonely while he went out on the town. She was tired of taking care of her two sons who treated her with disrespect. She wanted freedom. Freedom to love and to be herself without having to take care of everyone, all the time. They called her a cheater when she fell in love with someone else, but who could blame her when it was the first bit of affection she had been shown in years? When she insisted her children didn’t need her constant attention and she was more than a mother, people were appalled, in and out of the novel, even in today’s society. But she persevered. I won’t go on, because I don’t want to spoil the very dramatic ending, so pick up a copy and read for yourself.
Chopin made her female characters every bit as human as a man. She gave them very similar qualities, human emotions, human hormones. Her women had affairs, some were lesbian (though I’m not sure if that was ever confirmed or just my theory). They weren’t just wives and mothers, but women with passion and drive. Women who felt oppressed by their husbands because it was their job to stay home with the children.
Kate Chopin was the first writer who gave me a passion for writing. I had always written stories and thought about writing as a profession, but didn’t realize that’s all I wanted to become until Chopin. JK Rowling made me wish I could build magical worlds, Kate Chopin gave me a drive to change humanity’s line of thinking with what I wrote. Good writing makes you think. Great writing makes you dream.
Though she died over a hundred years ago, I want to thank her for changing my life and molding me into the woman I am today. I’d have never known about this amazing writer if not for my English teacher, Carol Gilman, who introduced me to one of the greatest novels of all time, so a huge thank you to her, as well.