Pages: 56 pages
Published: February 26, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories, Classics
A short story by Kate Chopin. The story takes place in an unnamed city–a city large enough to have a department store, a fashionable restaurant, a theater, and a cable car–probably in the early 1890s.
Kate Chopin was a great writer and never given the respect she deserved during her lifetime. Besides her popular novel, The Awakening, Chopin explores taboo issues such as what is it like to be a woman in society or the race identity. Like her popular novel, The Awakening, Chopin was never afraid to talk about issues and takes on the challenges that everyone else is afraid to touch.
Chopin is well-known for The Awakening, but many people do not take in consideration her short stories. Thankfully, Penguin Classics took care of that with their compilation of some of her short stories in their Little Black Classic Series (Side note: I love these small books! You are entertained throughout an entire train to work!).Although Chopin many short stories, there are only five short stories in this volume. So since there are an individual stories, I will give my rating and short review on each one.
- Désirée’s Baby (5 out of 5 stars) – Proof that a tiny short story can give a powerful message. Désirée’s Baby deals with gender equality, race, heritage and hypocrisy, especially with a man’s standing in society compared to a woman’s. And that plot twist came out of nowhere! Highly enjoyable!
- Miss McEnders (4 out of 5 stars) – “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones”. Before we start passing off judgement of others, we need to look closer to home. A great example of the duplicitous nature of 19th century society.
- The Story of an Hour (5 out of 5 stars) – My absolutely favorite short story by her! I read this in high school and college and it still resonates with me. It discusses how freedom can be in our grasp and it can be taken away so quickly. The ending makes you second guess what the main character is truly feeling.
- Neg Créol (3 out of 5 stars) – The struggle between two different cultures. Exploring the relationship between a former slave and his former master. Interesting topic but was a little unclear sometimes. Not as flowing compared to other short stories.
- A Pair of Silk Stockings (5 out of 5 stars) – This short story explores the theme escapism. The female character, for the first time, is feeling free from responsibilities and even if is buying a small cup of coffee or a pair of silk stockings, she is using these minimal purchases as symbols of her liberation, even if it is for a day.
Chopin explores race, gender equality, and societal expectations in all of these short stories. Her use of various themes across the board makes her a unique and creative writer. If you have never read anything by her, these are five great short stories that can give you a head start. If you have read something by her and enjoyed it, you can’t go wrong with this small classic book. Be entertained on your way to work. You won’t be disappointed.
Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars