Kate worked on third collection, A Vocation and a Voice , which included work previously rejected by magazine publishers. Publishers who felt the work dealt too explicitly with love, sex, and marriage rejected this collection . Included in this collection is Chopin's most famous short story, " The Story of an Hour ," in which an ill woman learns of her husband's accidental death. The story examines the woman's reaction to her sudden and unexpected independence and ends surprisingly when she discovers her husband is actually alive. Even when the collection was rejected , Kate continued writing, and aside from her short stories she produced poems and submitted essays to several St. Louis periodicals. http://www.angelfire.com/nv/English243/Chopin.html
It was also during this time that she was working on what is now considered her masterpiece, The Awakening . Before publication of The Awakening , Chopin wrote another now-famous short story, "The Storm." "The Storm," about two lover's infidelity during a thunderstorm, shows Chopin's interest in passion and infidelity. The Awakening was published in 1899. This work was condemned in its time because of its sexual openness . It was rediscovered in the 1950s and has since received many accolades for the beauty of its writing and for its modern sensibility. With the stormy weather surrounding The Awakening , her editors decided to suspend publication of her third collection of stories, A Vocation and a Voice. The collection was not published until 1991, 87 years after her death. http://www.angelfire.com/nv/English243/Chopin.html
Her early stories were well-received nationally and earned her literary fame as a "local colorist," even appearing in the first issue of Vogue . However, her career was devastated when The Awakening was published in 1899. It drew a storm of criticism for its "shocking, morbid, and vulgar" story and quickly went out of print. The novel was not resurrected until the 1950s, when its importance was recognized by participants in the growing women's movement. Today The Awakening is among the five most-read American novels in colleges and universities and is considered an early example of American realism.
Questions <ul><li>Give an example of foreshadowing something that is important later in the story </li></ul><ul><li>What do you learn about Mrs. Mallard from the description of her face? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you surprised by this reaction? How does it differ from her "public" reaction? (“She said it over and over under her breath: "free, free, free!" ) </li></ul><ul><li>She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy  that held her. This is a good example of what literary critics call an oxymoron , two words with opposite meanings that are linked together. Why does Mrs. Mallard find this joy "monstrous"? </li></ul><ul><li>She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands  folded in death; What does the description of Mr. Mallard in this paragraph tell you about the kind of relationship Mr. and Mrs. Mallard had? </li></ul><ul><li>When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease--of joy that kills. Irony occurs in literature when there is a contrast between what is said and what is meant. In what way is this last paragraph ironic ? </li></ul>