In reading “A Respectable Woman” by Kate Chopin it is apparent that she is very much a realist. Her works are all fictional stories but they represent the stark realities of life. She does not dramatize or make her characters appear heroic, but simply portrays them as everyday people trying to overcome everyday conflicts. Chopin’s writing is very unconventional for her time.
The female characters in her stories defy the conventional role of women in her time. In writing her stories through her point of view it is obvious that Chopin identifies with her characters. Chopin uses her own unique style, tone and irony to reflect the inner conflict within Mrs. Baroda in “A Respectable Woman.” The style and diction Chopin uses in the story emulate an educated person behind the words as well as in the character of Mrs. Baroda. Chopin uses sentences of substantial length.
She gives Mrs. Baroda proper etiquette and an educated vocabulary. Mrs. Baroda is given life with Chopin’s words. Her husband exclaims, “You are full of surprises, ma belle,” (Chopin 374).
And, when asked what is troubling her about Gouvernail, Mrs.
Baroda’s response is somewhat arrogant; “You used to say he was a man of ideas” (Chopin 374).
This response makes it seem as if Mrs. Baroda is bored with Gouvernail, highly contrasting to conventional attitudes of women of that time. Chopin’s use of tone is also innately unique to her considering the time of her writings. Her attitude towards the recognition of female intelligence shines through her work. She gives Mrs.
Kate Chopin is often catalogued as an insightful writer who saw ahead of her own time. Her work is filled with examples of the powerful forces which are at play in the human spirit and which go beyond the conventions of society. Chopin captures the ineffable essence of human relationships, outside the rules of social order. Thus, in many of her stories, Chopin tackles marriage as a social ...
Baroda the thoughts of a regular woman and the capacity to recognize them. Though Mrs. Baroda’s thoughts concerning Gouvernail may seem to be indecent or scandalous within the society of her time, they are private and natural. Chopin’s intention is to bring an awakening to society regarding the female persona. She does so with this display of tone.
The ironic situation Chopin uses in the story is the reaction Mrs. Baroda has to Gouvernail after already having a distinct image of who he would be. Much to Mrs. Baroda’s surprise he turned out to be nothing like she imagined. Her attraction to him confuses her greatly, “She had never known her thoughts or her intentions to be so confused” (Chopin 375).
This use of irony gives identity to Mrs.
Baroda. Surely many women of this time can relate to having confusing thoughts such as these. The underlying twist of greater irony is that Mrs. Baroda does not acknowledge the fact that these thoughts are considered as un respectable as acting on them.
“She wanted to draw close to him… as she might have done if she had not been a respectable woman” (Chopin 375).
This quote captures Chopin’s un conventional attitude. She gives women permission to have identity. As seen in “A Respectable Woman” Chopin’s writing is very unconventional for her time. Mrs.
Baroda’s character in the story challenge the conservative role of women in her time. Mrs. Baroda’s character is allowed to have individuality. Chopin’s use of style, tone and irony to reflect her liberal attitude toward the perception of women.