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Writers Reflection #2- Research Overall


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

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


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 ( 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 ( 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 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.

Research Blog 4- Advice to Future Students


The university level research is very different from what was practiced in high school. The research in high school was very basic, and barely scratched the surface of the depth of college-level research.

One thing I learned from university-level research was how to stray away from using Google and basic web searches. Basic web searches could be unreliable or give false information. They also have the capability to be bias, therefore blurring your research process. Using databases gave much more reliable and in depth information that could contribute to the overall research of Kate Chopin.

Another valuable thing I learned throughout this process is how to have a more advanced and in-depth research. When using databases, there is so much information available when just typing in a single word. Millions of articles and journals can show up, so it is necessary to condense the amount of information you need to look through. By using the advanced searches on the databases, I was able to find better articles for my specific subject or general theme for my research. This helped zone in on exactly what I needed to, helping me in the future when I am writing my synthesis paper.

The last concept I learned while researching at a college level was how to find different and new information after extensive research. This was a difficult task after researching for a few weeks. The last few sources needed to have different information than the previous articles. By further advancing my searches, I was able to find even more ways to research my theme. It was helpful to know how to use the databases in order to find further information.

There are some things I would advise future students to do, in terms of the research project. The first piece of advice would be to stay ahead on your project. Getting behind causes a lot of work to build up, and it becomes confusing when you have to do multiple annotated bibliographies at once. It was helpful for me to stay ahead because it was less stressful in the long run.

I would also advise that students learn how to use the databases fully. They need to know how to make more advanced searches in order to research to the best of their ability. It makes researching much easier when you can pin point the exact articles you need in relation to your topic.

Lastly, I would advise the student to not be afraid to look at reviews of other works by the author when they are researching. Comparing the different works of author’s, really gives insight as to the writer as a whole. Most likely, you will be able to connect the other writings back to your synthesis theme as a whole, helping your research.


Annotated Bibliography 8

English: First ed title pg

English: First ed title pg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Adams, Richard P. “Southern Literature In The 1890’S.” Mississippi Quarterly 21.4 (1968): 277-281. America: History & Life. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.


This source discusses Chopin’s writing and how it was inspired by the culture in Louisiana during the late 1800’s.


The author, Richard Adams, discusses how Chopin’s writing was affected by social influences in Louisiana during the late 1800’s. It goes into depth over her writing in The Awakening, and how it used the beliefs of Kate Chopin, and the ways in which in went against societal norms. It mentions the female sensuality which was not publicly accepted during this period. With Louisiana being extremely conservative, the mention of female sexuality was forbidden. Chopin showed this concept in not only The Awakening, but also in “The Storm”. It also discusses Chopin’s attitude towards Creoles in Louisiana as well. Chopin incorporates Creoles into her work partially because of her late husband, Oscar Chopin who was a creole. Chopin takes a step out of the norms of the deep south again, to discuss an interesting topic that defines Louisiana in the late 1800’s.


This source has some useful information that can contribute to the final synthesis paper. My overall theme has revolved around relating Chopin’s personal life as well as personal beliefs to her work as a whole. This has completed that task.


This source is a scholarly article in multiple ways. It was found in the America: life and history database through King Library, which is a credible way in which to find information. It is a published article which also gives it credibility.


This source was difficult to find. After looking over a lot of similar articles, I needed to have a more advanced search in order to find new information. The search for this search included the key words “Kate Chopin” and “Louisiana”, so I could find information on the societal norms of Louisiana during the time period in which Kate Chopin published her writings.


Annotated Bibliography 7

Writer Kate Chopin and her sons Frederick, Geo...

Writer Kate Chopin and her sons Frederick, George, Jean, and Oscar, in New Orleans, 1877. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“Chopin, Kate (Katherine O’Flaherty) (1851-1904).” Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia of American Literature. George B. Perkins, Barbara Perkins, and Phillip Leininger. Vol. 1. New York: HarperCollins, 1991. 188. Literature Resource Center. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.


This source is a brief biography on the life of Kate Chopin. It goes in depth with her personal life and her life as an author.


The author of this article, Barbara Perkins, talks about Kate Chopin’s writing in depth. She discusses the involvement of creoles in Chopin’s writing, and how this relates to her marriage to Oscar Chopin who was a creole cotton trader in Louisiana. It discusses the inspiration for Chopin’s writing in Louisiana


The way in which Perkins shows the connection between Chopin’s personal life and her writing definitely helps the general theme to my research blog. It does not have as much material as other sources that I have found in the past. At this point in the research it is becoming difficult to find new information on Chopin and her writing.


This source is definitely reliable and scholarly, due to the fact that it is from the Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia of American Literature. It is found from the literature resource center, which is a reliable way in which to find information.


Finding this source was somewhat difficult. I searched multiple different aspects of Kate Chopin until I found this biography on her.


Annotated Bibliography 6

Location map of Louisiana, USA

Location map of Louisiana, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Souther Woman in The Fiction of Kate Chopin. Marie Fletcher.   Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association. Vol. 7, No. 2 (Spring, 1966), pp. 117-132. Published by: Louisiana Historical Association. Stable URL:

This article talks a lot about the time in which Kate Chopin was writing in Louisiana. It also gives a detailed biography on Kate Chopin’s life, and it gives feedback as to why Kate Chopin wrote the way she did, with relation to her social and moral views on society.

This article first repeats a lot of the ideas of previous articles in relation to Kate Chopin’s biography. But from the biography, we find out that Chopin went against the social values to the deep south from the ways in which she dressed and the fact that she smoke cigarettes. Showing that Chopin was not afraid to break the chains of society. It reiterates the problems Chopin dealt with after the negative responses from The Awakening as well, and how this only partially restricted her writing. The article also explains the women in Chopin’s writing. She was extremely interested in the “first blush of romantic passion”, which is seen in The Storm with Calixta (130). Chopin created beautiful women, all with children to satisfy her maternal instinct. The women would have some of the values as a “traditional lady”, but there would also be flaws that were to show independence. Overall, it notes that there was a point of honesty in Chopin’s writing that gave hold to the truths in society that would never come to surface.

This source identifies a lot of insight on the moral codes of the Deep South during the late 1800’s, when Chopin was in full swing with her writing. It has given a lot of information on not only Chopin’s life relating to her work but how Chopin’s moral views and thoughts were incorporated as well. These thoughts correspond to being immersed in the culture in Louisiana at that time.

This source was from a book, written on different aspects of the history of Louisiana. This source gave a lot of knowledge on the different aspects of Kate Chopin’s life and writing, having a well-rounded approach. It is definitely a scholarly source.

I found this in a different online database than previous sources. I went to the “American History and Life” database and researched Louisiana and Kate Chopin in the advanced search. It took me a while to find this source, but the information I found was extremely helpful and useful.