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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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8. Regional Realism   

8. Regional

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Activities: Author Activities

Kate Chopin - Selected Archive Items

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[2576] William Merritt Chase, At the Seaside (1892),
courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Kate Chopin evokes the symbolic landscape of the sea at the end of The Awakening. Chopin's protagonist finds considerable oppression in the forced camaraderie of female socialization, but a freeing independence in the solitary ocean.

[2582] Thomas Anshutz, A Rose (1907),
courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Marguerite and Frank A. Cosgrove, Jr. Fund, 1993 (1993.324). Photograph © 1994 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Anshutz, a student of painter Thomas Eakins, was known for his unconventional subject matter, but here he uses his photographic clarity to make a fashionable portrait. The pose of the sitter reflects the sense that Anshutz has captured an informal, fleeting moment. It is this same attention to the emotional resonances of daily life that fills Chopin's The Awakening.

[4101] Anonymous, Kate Chopin house (c. 1883),
courtesy of Northwestern University.
Chopin wrote her stories and novels amidst the hustle and bustle of her living room, frequently interrupted by her six children.

[4106] Anonymous, Kate Chopin with children (c. 1878),
courtesy of Northwestern University.
Photograph of Chopin with four of her six children. Widowed at thirty-two, Chopin wrote poetry, stories, and novels to support her family.

[6094] Anonymous, Frances Benjamin Johnston, full-length portrait, standing at edge of ocean in bathing suit, with left hand on boat, facing right (1880),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-120445].
Bathing was a popular fin de siëcle pursuit, whether in the ocean or in mineral springs. Bathing costumes protected women's modesty.

[8521] Kate Chopin, "Désirée's Baby" (1893),
courtesy of 4Literature.net.
In this story Chopin addresses the question of miscegenation and the legacy of slavery in the South.

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