Analyzing Her Letters by Kate Chopin Essay Example

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1774 Words
Date:  2022-11-10

This paper helps to give an analysis of short stories by Chopin's termed as "The Letters". The story is about a woman's husband who happened to die before the woman was in a position to destruct letter that her lover had written. The story utilizes two characters who are a woman who is not named and her unnamed husband. The settings of the story were done in the late nineteenth century, and the events happened in an unnamed city. It is therefore clearly presented that also women like men also have sexual desires and needs which far outdo their financial, social and love status and that is what forms their marriage foundations.

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The story begins by presenting a woman who is in a home and has a large letter bundle that are put together with twine and a rope. In several weeks the woman had a conflict in her mind whether to destroy the letters or not to destroy them. Although she was willing to destruct the messages, she failed to do it for the last four years. It was shown that she knew she would not live for long and therefore she wanted to destroy the letters so that they could have disappeared with her. After deciding to terminate the messages, she starts to burn them one after the other.

However, Beer et al., (2016) showed that "after burning a few of the letters, the woman began to cry, and she clung to those letters that she termed as so dear to her. The thought of dying without her triggered the tears". As a result, she began to think of how she would have destroyed the letters after her death. So she decided to send the messages to her husband when she had died, and therefore the husband would decide on how to destroy the letters. It happened that the woman threw the notes to her husband and she died. According to Gilbert et al. (2002) "The woman asked her husband not to open the messages but destroy them. The husband had the thought that the woman had an affair but due to how he loved her and the loyalty she had developed for her he decided to take the letters to the river and he threw them inside". However, the man had sleepless nights as he began to think about the messages he threw in the river. After some days the man went and jumped into the river in the middle of the night so that he could have been with her wife and her letters.

Notably, Chopin was bold enough to present women longing for sex and her emancipation, and this causes her story to be a form of a revolutionary book. VanKooten & Crystal (2004) showed that "The work of Chopin to bring in the theme of sexual awakening in women is an issue which has been surrounded by great debate. Chopin also brings in other subjects including gender constraints and adultery. She showed that women do have the passion to the level where they abandon social obligations and all maternal since female irrational tend to be influenced by desire".

Arguably, the theme brought in in "Her letters" can be reflected differently. According to Weinstock & Jeffrey Andrew, (2002), "the issue of awakening is presented to be a feminist statement which is problematic". Thus, the problem is surrounded by a conflict where a wife subordinates her individual needs to her husband as a form of social expectation. In the same manner, the wife desires for social equality, recognition for sexual as well as her independence. Through this, the presentation of the issue of self-possession is presented, and individuals from both genders are shown to have equal sexual desires and needs.

Most importantly, the essence of self-possession was presented by Chopin short story. When self-possession was further analyzed, it was noted that the principle of ownership and individual control of property was a full decision from the individual. In this case, Koloski et al. (2013) showed that "the bundles of letters possessed by the unnamed woman had a disturbing effect on her as well as on the anonymous husband. These were demonstrated when the woman decided to burn the letters, but she could not destruct them after tears began falling from her eyes, and thus she decided to send the messages to the husband and asked him to destroy them". Surprisingly, it was fun to note that as the story came to an end, neither of them possessed the letters in the end. Instead, the contents of the message remained together, and the two subjects were deprived of their lives.

The story of Kate Chopin has experienced several reputations. About, Church et al. (2006) "After fifty years from when the book was published, the novel was removed from circulating but the impact it had fifty years after publication could not be removed". The behaviour of the heroine presented by Chopin in the story was the primary source of disagreements. She was seen as selfish, shocking and sickening something which most of the members of the society could not easily comprehend.

Nevertheless, in the mid-twentieth century, Kate's story experienced a reappraisal of its context and that of the presented main character which brought fourth Chopin's reputation. According to O'Donoghue et al. (2016) "some feminist critics demonstrated that Chopin work was the form of text which contests and depicts restraining female behaviour and expression". In this case, Chopin had the intention of awakening women to have the freedom to express their sexual longings and embraced their emancipation; something which shown seen as revolutionary.

Reasonably, the theme of conflict as demonstrated by Chopin in her work; "The letters" was an interesting issue. As presented by Beer et al., (2016), "the woman in the context was presented how she was subordinate to her husband needs. In the same manner, the sense of ownership presented a form of conflict in the novel". In this case, the control and ownership of property was something that was made to be personal. Thus, the woman could not reveal to the husband what was taking place and thus decided to keep the pile of letters to the point where she sensed that she was almost going to die. Therefore, even when she was sending the letters to the husband, she does not ask him to read them, but requests hem to destroy them something which he did. Additionally, the issue of self-possession was used to demonstrate how subjectivity is constructed in culture due to how the unnamed husband.

Moreover, the work done by Chopin raises the concern of morality, but the author did not provide practical answers to solve the issues of concern. Hence, the fact that Chopin did not condemn her characters is something which is seen to disturb society. In this case, it is seen as a form of disrupting the morality of the community since that was not what was advocated. According to the social norms, it was not right for women to talk about their sexual desires, but Chopin seemed to encourage it.

The essence of letting go was also presented through Chopin works. In this case, the protagonist woman was shown not to be in a position to destruct the love letters she had received from her previous lover. When she tried to burn the letters, it was seen that she was still emotionally attached to the former lover since she was unable to consume the messages. Thus, she was not ready to let the former lover go and surprisingly she asked her husband to destroy the letters when she was no longer living. According to some critics, the woman felt as though she could be able to trust the husband, but the letters she sent to him ended up tormenting him. The husband was tortured because he thought that he was unfair to destruct her wives letters without even reading them. According to most critics, the husband had regrets that forced him not to let go whatever information that the letters contained. Due to this, it could be seen that the husband was somehow suspicious of the information that he destructed when he threw the letters in the river. As a result, it is seen like to some extent he did not trust his wife. Thus, it could have been wise for the man to have evaluated his relationship with his wife.

Notably, the husband enquired from others about her wife. These were seen as unusual since it seemed that he was trying to find out something which he did not know about the wife from others. In this case, the husband would have been directed by jealous, and this caused him not to trust the wife. Moreover, the relationship of the husband and the wife was questionable due to how the husband was not in a position to comment something good about the wife.

Surprisingly, it was not clear how a man who was suspicious of the wife failed to open the letters he gave her. If only he began the letters, he could have learnt about her wife affair with another man. Moreover, it could also be seen that the man never wanted to distort the image of her wife by reading the letters and just wished it to remain like it was even after her death.


Finally, the end of the story was satisfying because the husband ended up killing himself due to the desire to discover what was in the letter and the belief that he will see his wife again. The husband is minded to kill himself. It is recognized that the husband remained loyal to the wife even if it was not clear whether the wife had treated him well. Hence, the woman is understood to have loved the wife unconditionally, but it was not sure that the wife did it. As a result, this leads to the premature death of the husband.

Works cited

Beer, Janet. Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Studies in Short Fiction. Springer, 2016.

Chopin, Kate. "The Complete Works of Kate Chopin, ed." Per Seyersted 2 (2006).

Church, Joseph. "An Abuse of Art in Chopin's" The Awakening"." American Literary Realism 39.1 (2006): 20-23.

Gilbert, Sandra M. "Kate Chopin: Complete Novels and Stories." New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc (2002).

Koloski, Bernard. "KateChopin. org." Web, 2013.

O'Donoghue, Kate, and Heather Ostman, eds. Kate Chopin in Context: New Approaches. Springer, 2016.

Stein, Allen F. Women and Autonomy in Kate Chopin's short fiction. Vol. 45. Peter Lang, 2005.

VanKooten & Crystal. "Writing against convention: Kate Chopin's short fiction in Vogue, 1893-1900." (2004).

Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew. "In possession of the letter: Kate Chopin's" Her Letters"." Studies in American Fiction 30.1 (2002): 45-62.

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Analyzing Her Letters by Kate Chopin Essay Example. (2022, Nov 10). Retrieved from

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