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Repression in Kate Chopin's Stories

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Kate Chopin employs the theme of repression constantly in her short stories. In each of the stories, society never fails to restrain a character from doing what he/she ideally desires to do. The characters (Edna Pontellier, Desiree, Mrs. Baroda, and Mrs. Sommers) have no choice but to conform to what society dictates. Due to their society's restraints, these women are unable to reach the full potential of their individualities. At the time, this boring, suppressive life women possessed was typical. Conversely, repression did have some benefits. For example, because of her restrictions, Edna's subtle infatuation for Robert turns into a longing passion.

In each of the four short stories we have read, Kate Chopin utilizes the theme of repression. Edna Pontellier is restrained by her husband and Creole community from being with the one she genuinely loves. Desiree has no choice but to leave her husband, Armand Aubigny, after he tells her to do so. Mrs. Baroda is restrained from having an affair with Mr. Gouvernail by her conscience. And Mrs. Sommers is restricted from spending too much because of her marriage. All four women are married to decent, loving husbands. For the most part, their married lives are prosperous, but as soon as an issue comes up, the husbands ultimately possess authority over their wives; treating them almost like property.



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