Monthly Archives: May 2013

Writers Reflection #2- Research Overall

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The research part of Inquiry Two was difficult to begin. Starting with a blank page when researching is difficult to start. As I went through the research project, I was able to find similarities in the articles I was reading. The majority of them connected Chopin’s personal life to her writing. This was a great theme to research. I was able to look at the different aspects of her personal life, and her values and beliefs. It made me realize that as a writer, many of Chopin’s personal aspects came into play throughout her writing, which is why she was always so passionate about it. This set me up perfectly for my synthesis paper because I had an overall theme to connect all the sources to.

The synthesis paper challenged me to look at the different sources instead of the facts about Kate Chopin overall. Comparing different sources became difficult with the vast amount of information I had. I began with an outline to organize my thoughts, and then found support for each topic by looking back at my annotated bibliographies. This first step in my synthesis paper really helped organize all my sources in way that I could then incorporate them into my paper. This made writing my essay easier, the only thing I needed to do after the outline was connect all my thoughts so it had a flow to the paper.

Overall, I really enjoyed this semester. I liked having less reading and spending more time being able to learn how to close read and look at stories from different angles. This class will definitely help me in future reading when looking at different aspects of the story, and why writers have written stories the way they are. More readings just takes up more time, and gives less time for analysis, which is what we should be doing at a college level.

Writers Reflection #1- Blog Visual

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Color picture

Color picture (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Visuals in one’s blog are what makes a blog so successful. A boring, black and white blog will steer the audience away, and cause a lack on interest. With colors, it opens up the blog, and creates an interest in the audience to read further.

 

Using bright colors is one way to attract the audience. My background on my blog has a fun pattern to catch the reader’s eye before they even read any of my posts. This is a way to catch a readers attention if they are just quickly passing by the blog. If there was no appealing color scheme, the reader would be less tempted to stop on my blog and take a look at the different posts.

 

Font is another important aspect to take into consideration when creating a blog. If the font has a childish look, or difficult to read, the audience may be too distracted to take into consideration the information actually being posted. It is key to have a professional and serious tone to the font in order to create credibility for your audience.

 

Pictures are one of the most important aspects to a blog. When scrolling through other blogs on WordPress, the ones I was immediately drawn to had pictures that gave immediate insight on the different blogs I could read. This helped keep me interested in the blogs, and also help me find the information I wanted to. Without pictures, a blog would merely be a word document full of numerous posts. The visual attraction to an audience is key when writing a blog. I specifically used pictures of Kate Chopin and other relating topics to draw my readers in. The different pictures also helped with a breather from the long posts to help them enjoy part of the blog, and take a break from all the information.

 

Overall, visuals are the backbone to a successful blog. Keeping your audience interested, and active in your blog is the most important way to have a great interactive blog.

 

The Words Behind The Author

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A story is much more than letters written down onto pages, or words inscribed onto paper. The context behind the story can deepen the meanings of the words written down. Many authors develop their writing through their own personal experiences and their own beliefs. This gives the stories more depth and meaning behind the initial plot line. This is an important aspect of an author’s writing because it open’s the door to learning more about the author as a whole.

Katherine O’Flaherty Chopin was a profound author that has been acknowledged for her writings representing the Deep South during the late 1800’s. Chopin has many writings that have caused an upheaval in criticism such as The Awakening and “The Storm”. Although these stories have been criticized, the way in which each story is written has caused readers to become entranced with her writing. As Katherine Chopin’s went through different experiences in her lifetime, the writings mirrored those experiences. Chopin’s personal life and beliefs have affected her writing in multiple aspects.

Kate Chopin’s personal life began to influence her writing at a very young age, as documented by sources. According to Christopher Baker in “Chopin’s The Storm”, Chopin was a biology major in college before she began to seriously consider the thought of becoming a writer (Baker.np). This aspect of Kate Chopin’s life has leaked into her writing in many stories, especially in “The Storm”. According to Baker, Chopin has incorporated multiple images relating to flowers, and the different parts that make up a flower. The first sign of floral imagery comes in the form of Calixta’s name. Baker states that the term “Calyx” refers to the part of a flower that protects the delicate inner parts of the flower while it is developing (Baker.np). Calixta’s character fits this definition perfectly, because on the outside, Calixta seems like a very strong character with strong values, but when Alcee comes into the picture, this perception fades, and a more vulnerable side shines through. Baker also emphasizes how Chopin incorporates floral imagery into other parts of “The Storm” such as, “lips moist as a pomegranate seed” (The Storm. II) and, “her firm, elastic flesh…like a creamy lily that the sun invites”(The Storm. II) (Baker.np). Baker reveals that these floral images have been inspired by her past in biology research, showing the relation between Chopin’s personal life and her work.

Kate Chopin’s writing, influenced by her family life, was well documented. In 1870, when Chopin was 20 years old, she married Oscar Chopin, a creole from Louisiana. After their wedding, Chopin moved to Louisiana where she would reside until her husband’s sudden death. In “Kate Chopin” an article in Feminist Writers, Pamela Kester-Shelton states that the incorporation of Louisiana and creoles is very prominent in works such as The Awakening, and the majority of her works are set in Louisiana towns as well (Kester-Shelton.1). Kester-Shelton also writes that during her marriage to Oscar Chopin, the couple had six children. In stories such as “The Storm”, Chopin makes an effort to incorporate children into the story, to fulfill her maternal instinct (Kester-Shelton.1). This can be observed with the relation between Calixta and Bibi in the storm. The story points out Calixta’s maternal instinct when stating, “She had clasped Bibi and was kissing him effusively” (The Storm. III). This intense love for Bibi portrays the love Chopin had for her six children and the strong maternal instinct she felt.

The independence that was thrown upon Chopin through her personal life was also documented by multiple sources. In 1882, Oscar Chopin died of a fever, causing Chopin to be left alone with six children and Oscar’s business he ran. In “Chopin, Kate (Katherine O’Flaherty)(1851-1904)” written in the Encyclopedia of American Literature, they state that after Oscar’s death, Kate took on the responsibility of running his business for one year while taking care of the six children (Encyclopedia.). Kate was forced to become an independent woman, raising six children on her own. According to Kester-Shelton in “Kate Chopin”, the perseverance Chopin portrayed during this difficult and trying time in her life reflects that of her female characters throughout her stories (Kester-Shelton.1). The way in which the women hold themselves in difficult times is only a mirror image of Chopin during some of her darkest moments. Chopin’s writing can be seen as a window into not only her personal life, but her beliefs as well.

Despite much criticism in the late 1800’s, Chopin was not afraid to let her personal beliefs reflect in her works, as many sources have pointed out. Kate always seemed to go against the societal norm of the Deep South. According to William E. Grant in his article “Katherine Chopin”, Chopin did not dress like other women of her time, and smoked cigarettes frequently, which was also frowned upon (Grant.2). With the death of her husband, Chopin learned to become a very independent woman, which can also been seen in many of the female characters throughout her writing (Grant.2). Allen Stein in “The Kaleidoscope of Truth: A new Look at Chopin’s ‘The Storm’” writes that Kate Chopin was also not afraid to discuss the theme of a natural birthright. Chopin fully believed in the idea that it is natural to fulfill your sexual needs (Stein.23). Stein states that although Chopin discusses this issue in many works including “The Storm”, she practiced this idea in real life as well. Stein reveals Chopin’s affair with a married man after the death of her husband, Oscar. (Stein.23). Revealing no guilt in either her personal life or in “The Storm”, Chopin’s idea of one’s natural birthright was clearly explained. Stein also reveals that although some critics did not believe Chopin took into consideration the values and morals of women, others believed she was simply portraying what it meant to be human (Stein.24).

Many sources came to the conclusion that Chopin’s life influenced the way in which female characters were constructed. In “The Southern Woman in The Fiction of Kate Chopin” by Marie Fletcher, Fletcher states that all of the women in Chopin’s works were beautiful and had children (Fletcher.236). This gave them the maternal instinct that Chopin always felt, while making them seem as the perfect southern women as well. Martha Cutter from “Losing the Battle but Winning the War” states that, in the beginning of Chopin’s writing, women were quiet and passive, revealing the truths to Chopin’s marriage with Oscar (Cutter.61). The female characters then shifted from the passive female to a traditional woman with some flaws. Fletcher from “The Southern Woman in The Fiction of Kate Chopin” reveals that these flaws portrayed an independence that not only the female characters obtained, but Kate as well (Fletcher.236). This coincides to the way in which Kate’s attitude changed after the death of Oscar. The independence was forced upon her, and she realized that it was a beneficial characteristic for women to have. The minor flaws that Chopin incorporated into her writing included a new sexual female character, such as Calixta in “The Storm”. Richard Adams from “Southern Literature in the 1890’s” also adds input on this topic stating that female sensuality was not a favorable concept in Louisiana during the late 1800’s, causing much criticism. But with Chopin’s strong beliefs on the natural birthright of a woman, the characters participated in heated love affairs like that of Alcee and Calixta (Adams.75). Chopin’s writing gave women a new reputation. One that was strong-willed, independent, and sexual. Everything that Chopin had morphed into after the death of her husband.

Different articles and writings have given “The Storm” as well as other writings by Chopin a different meaning. A writer is nothing without their own personal experiences to incorporate into their own writing, as seen in the multiple sources. The strong beliefs of Kate Chopin along with the influence of her personal experiences have created such masterpieces. Although there is much literary criticism, that is what has made Kate Chopin such an inspirational author.