Bayou Folk

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Prometheus Books - Fiction
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The author who today is probably best known for her novel The Awakening initially established her literary reputation with short stories about life in rural Louisiana during the late nineteenth century. Born Katherine O'Flaherty in St. Louis, Missouri, she later married Oscar Chopin, a Creole cotton trader and commission merchant, and lived in and around New Orleans for more than a decade until her husband's death. During these years, while raising six children on a Southern plantation, Chopin became acquainted with Creoles, Cajuns, and newly freed blacks. After her husband's death she returned to St. Louis and began writing, drawing from her recent experience in Louisiana to create her fiction.The stories collected in Bayou Folk present remarkably vivid snapshots of daily life in a now vanished world. Many of them highlight the relations between blacks and whites in a society where the rules of engagement still reflected the entrenched patterns of slavery some two decades after the Civil War. As she was ahead of her time regarding women's rights in The Awakening, where she depicted a woman unafraid to throw off traditional restraints, Chopin was also farsighted about race relations in Bayou Folk. Perhaps the story Desiree's Baby about the birth of a mixed-race baby to two white parents best expresses the uneasy relationship between blacks and whites in the old South, and the moral outrage of its strict codes against miscegenation.Chopin's gifts for capturing the dialects of the region and for telling a compelling story in memorable vignettes provide the reader with a richly rewarding experience.
 

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Contents

A NoAccount Creole
11
In Sabine I
77
A Very Fine Fiddle
93
The Return of Alcibiade
109
The Bénitous Slave 135
135
A Turkey Hunt 1
149
Boulot and Boulotte
191
A VVrzard from Gettysburg
213
At the Cadian Ball
239
Copyright

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About the author

Kate Chopin was born Katherine O'Flaherty in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 8, 1851. Although she was brought up in a wealthy and socially elite Catholic family, Chopin's childhood was marred by tragedies. Her father was killed in a train accident when Chopin was just four years old, and in the following years she also lost her older brother, great-grandmother, and half-brother. In 1870, at the age of 19, she married Oscar Chopin, the son of a wealthy cotton-growing family in Louisiana. The couple had seven children together, five boys and two girls, before Oscar died of swamp fever in 1883. The following year, Chopin packed up her family and moved back to St. Louis to be with her mother, who died just a year later. To support herself and her family, Chopin started to write. Her first novel, At Fault, was published in 1890. Her most famous work, The Awakening, inspired by a real-life New Orleans woman who committed adultery, was published in 1899. The book explores the social and psychological consequences of a woman caught in an unhappy marriage in 19th century America, is now considered a classic of the feminist movement and caused such an uproar in the community that Chopin almost entirely gave up writing. Chopin did try her hand at a few short stories, most of which were not even published. Chopin died on August 22, 1904, of a brain hemorrhage, after collapsing at the World's Fair just two days before.

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