Women Portrayed in Kate Chopin Vs Henry James Henry James and Kate Chopin, are two of the many influential writers of the 19th -20th century, both with their own instinctual writing style. Writers of this caliber are not just borne, but rather they have been formed. The upbringing of Chopin and James played an affluent part in their writing styles. These uniquely separate upbringings caused their minds to perceive things differently, in this case Chopin’s writing style is quite different form James’s especially when it comes to women. This essentially made these two writers who they are today from their unique perspectives. Though coming from the same time period of the 19th century, Chopin and James have very different perceptions of the modern woman of that time period of which are portrayed in their novels. Chopin portrays the women in her novels as controllable, under-spoken and frail, while the women in James’s novels are bold and free. Kate Chopin from an early age was immersed into a world of despair. During the year 1855, at the young age of 5 and 1/2 years old, Chopin was sent to The Sacred Heart Academy, which was a catholic boarding school in St Louis. Shortly after Chopin’s start at Sacred Heart Academy her father was tragically killed in a train accident, so started the beginning of the tragedies for Chopin (Wyatt). After the death of her father, Chopin moved in with the women of her family, her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother. These women oversaw her education, but only educated her in reading and writing but went far beyond the call of duty and taught her fine arts such as music and French. These 3 women in Chopin’s life were cutting edge and inspiring as her mother was the first women in St Louis to legally separate her husband. Kate continued her education at Sacred Heart and managed to become one of the best and brightest students, but tragedy struck Chopin once again has her grandmother died in 1863, soon followed by the death of her half-brother who had a lost the battle with typhoid fever. With all the death and despair in her life she met her husband in 1870, got married and started a family She thought she had outrun tragedy this time, but after having 5 boys and 2 girls her husband died of “Swamp fever” in 1883 (Baym and Levine 1604). After the death of her husband, she moved her family back to St Louis where she lived with her mother to get back on her feet. But tragedy caught up with Chopin once more as her mother died just that next year. Chopin started her writing career soon after her mothers death just as a means for extra income, little did she know her work would take off. Due to growing up with 3 generations of women, it isn't hard to see where Chopin could have pulled inspiration for her writings from. Chopin portrays the women in her writings with similar attributes as the women she grew up with. In her story, Desiree’s Baby, the main female role Desiree is a woman who was abandoned at a young age then adopted into a wealthy family in the southern state of Louisiana. Desiree later married a wealthy plantation owner by the name of Armand. Armand was a stern and hard man, one of which Desiree bulked to constantly under the pressure of making him unhappy, “This is what made the gentle Desiree so happy, for she loved him desperately. When he frowned she trembled, but loved him. When he smiled, she asked no greater blessing of God" (Chopin 1607). Desiree has ensnared herself in a cycle of being controlled by Armand for the sake of his happiness. This same exact notion is reciprocated when Chopin writes, “‘Shall I go, Armand?’ she asked in tones sharp with agonized suspense. ‘Yes, go.’ ‘Do you want me to go?’ ‘Yes, I want you to go’ (Chopin 1608).
Desiree is so desperately clinging to the hope of making her husband want her to stay he is making herself malleable to the will of her husband. Since Armand wanted Desiree to leave,