Kate Chopin is an American Author who was controversial in her own time. She published just two novels but nearly 100 short stories, including The Storm and Desiree's Baby. She is most famous for The Awakening, a novel that tested the bounds of propriety when it was published in 1899.
Kate Chopin was born Catherine O'Flaherty in St. Louis, Missouri in 1850. Her mother's family was French and Chopin grew up speaking both French and English. Her father was killed in a railroad accident when Chopin was only five years old. The family waited out the American Civil War in St. Louis.
In 1870, Chopin married Oscar Chopin and settled in New Orleans, Louisiana. They had five sons and one daughter. In 1879, Chopin and her family moved to Cloutierville, Louisiana. Oscar died of malaria there in 1882.
Two years later, Chopin returned with her six children to St. Louis. Her first published story did not appear until 1889. The next year her first novel At Fault was published privately. She attempted to publish a second novel called Young Dr. Gosse and Theo but could not find a publisher and subsequently destroyed the manuscript.
Chopin returned to writing short stories. She wrote dozens over the next decade, some for children, and others, like The Storm, so explicit that she did not bother to submit them to publishers. No magazine of the time would have printed them. In 1899, The Awakening, Chopin's second published novel, appeared in print. Readers were outraged by its themes of sexuality, marital disharmony and suicide.
In August of 1904, Chopin went to the St. Louis World's Fair. That evening, she complained of a headache. The next day she became unconscious. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage on August 22, 1904. She is buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.