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introduction Kate Chopin author of The Awakening and other short stories such as A Pair of Silk Stockings Dsires Baby and The Story of an Hour actively searched for female spiritual emancipation which she found and expressed in her writing Her poems short stories and novels allowed her not only to assert her beliefs for herself but also to question the ideas of individuality and autonomy during the turn of the century Unlike many of the feminist writers of her time who were mainly interested in improving the social conditions of women she looked for an understanding of personal freedom that questioned conventional demands of both men and women Additionally she did not limit her exploration of freedom to physical emancipation ie husbands controlling wives through the traditional expectations of motherhood but also intellectual autonomy ie women having political opinions taken seriously Kates writings provided her with the means to live how she wantedboth mentally and physicallyrather than play the role society expected of her She did not start her professional writing career until later in life but the lessons learned and the events experienced gave her the unique insight that provided material for her stories Chopins biography Kate OFlaherty Chopin was born in St Louis Missouri on February 8 1850 She was born to Captain Thomas OFlaherty and Eliza Feris OFlaherty Kate was the only child of theirs to survive past the age of 25 Captain OFlaherty was a businessman from Ireland who moved to St Louis with his family He owned and operated a boat store a wholesale grocery and a commission house He was very successful in his business ventures spoke fluent French and had refined manners therefore making him welcome within St Louis upper class Wyatt Eliza Feris OFlaherty was born into one of the oldest and most aristocratic Creole families of St Louis During Kates teenage years the Civil War raged on separating the North and
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