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Katherine OFlaherty Chopin was born on July 12 1850 She was the daughter of Thomas OFlaherty an immigrant Irish businessman and Eliza Faris a French Creole mother When Kate was four her father died in train accident Her father was aboard a train while it crossed the Gasconade Bridge which had collapsed Her fathers death left Kate without any male role models She lived with her widowed mother widowed grandmother and widowed great-grandmother Victoria Verdon Charleville Charleville was an inspiration to Kate She educated her in French music and introduced her to storytelling She emphasized to Kate the need to live life clearly and fearlessly Charlevilles mother was the first woman to be granted a divorce in St Louis Kate was devastated at the age of eleven when her great grandmother and half-brother George had died In 1868 she graduated from the Academy of the Sacred Heart with medals and awards She then met her husband Oscar Chopin a wealthy Creole cotton broker In 1870 they married and moved to New Orleans There over a span of a decade she gave birth to six children In 1879 Oscar Chopins cotton brokerage started to fail Tragically in 1882 he died of swamp fever and Kate was forced to support the family She took over the business and plantation for a year After selling most of her property she moved back to St Louis with her family in 1884 Her mother Eliza died the year after leaving Kate again alone with her children During these rough times she sought help from her close friend Dr Frederick Kolbenheyer whom encouraged her to write and publish She became influenced by authors such as Guy de Maupassant Daudet and Moliere She wrote based on her experiences in New Orleans The more she wrote the more daring she became She wrote about marriage divorce sexual attitudes and racial prejudice She was a nationally acclaimed writer until she decided to release The
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