Freedom and existentialist choice in the fiction of Kate Chopin

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dc.contributor.advisor Habich, Robert D., 1951- en_US Podlasli, Heidi M. en_US 2011-06-03T19:30:00Z 2011-06-03T19:30:00Z 1991 en_US 1991
dc.identifier LD2489.Z68 1991 .P6 en_US
dc.description.abstract Kate Chopin, 1851-1904, gained national fame when her local color stories became published in acclaimed magazines such as Vogue and the Atlantic. Her novel, The Awakening (1899), however, criticized for its controversial content and its heroine, Edna Pontellier, whose ambiguous actions and final suicide were focus of the critical attention, received only negative reactions and silenced Chopin as a writer. Interpretations by feminists, realists, or culturalhistorians proved insufficient in their attempts to explain the dilemma of the heroine. Approached from an existentialist point of view, the novel seems to derive new meaning, but the few extant critical discussions remain either too superficial or too general in scope. A thorough explication of J.-P. Sartre's existentialism, in particular, however, would provide a fresh, insightful interpretation not only of The Awakening, but also of selected short stories that had critics equally torn when faced with the seemingly ambivalent decisions of their heroines.Following the literature review of Chapter I, Chapter II will provide background information on Sartrian existentialism while focusing on such terms as anguish, bad faith, and authenticity that are especially relevant for a better understanding of Chopin's works. How several of her short stories and The Awakening will derive new significance when approached from an existentialist perspective will be shown in Chapters III and IV, respectively, the interpretation mainly centering on the argument that the dilemmas of the heroines, formerly described as "female" or "romantic," are essentially "human" and derive universal, therefore existential significance. Finally, I will try to account for Kate Chopin's "existentialism" in Chapter V by not only taking a closer look at the social issues she was surrounded by, and also her personal life that was the foundation of her thinking, being expressed in ideas that would put her way beyond the "Zeitgeist" of her times. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Department of English
dc.format.extent iii, 158 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.other Chopin, Kate, 1850-1904 -- Criticism and interpretation. en_US
dc.subject.other Chopin, Kate, 1850-1904. Awakening. en_US
dc.title Freedom and existentialist choice in the fiction of Kate Chopin en_US Thesis (Ph. D.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3248]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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