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Unraveling the Southern Pastoral Tradition: A New Look at Kate Chopin's At Fault

Unraveling the Southern Pastoral Tradition: A New Look at Kate Chopin's At Fault Unraveling the Southern Pastoral Tradition: A New Look at Kate Chopin’s At Fault by Maureen Anderson Nine years before Kate Chopin unveiled The Awakening (1899), she self- published her first novel, At Fault. The novel, considered by critics as a worthy piece of fiction, established Chopin as a new and talented writer. The story of a widow running a plantation in the Natchitoches Parish of Louisiana, At Fault reflects Chopin’s own life. After two years of widow- hood and successfully running her husband’s business, Chopin left the Natchitoches Parish for St. Louis in mid-1884, partly because of her in- volvement with Albert Sampite, a married man. After a year in St. Louis and shortly after her mother’s death, Chopin began writing for publica- tion. Like Thérèse in At Fault, Chopin faced a decision between love and traditional ethics in her relationship with Sampite. Because Sampite was a southern Catholic, he could not divorce. In Louisiana when a couple did divorce, civil law prohibited either partner from marrying a lover. Conse- quently, Chopin had reason to question what she called an old southern “code of righteousness” that prevented her as well as her female protag- onist in At Fault from http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Unraveling the Southern Pastoral Tradition: A New Look at Kate Chopin's At Fault

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 34 (1) – Dec 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 Department of English of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Unraveling the Southern Pastoral Tradition: A New Look at Kate Chopin’s At Fault by Maureen Anderson Nine years before Kate Chopin unveiled The Awakening (1899), she self- published her first novel, At Fault. The novel, considered by critics as a worthy piece of fiction, established Chopin as a new and talented writer. The story of a widow running a plantation in the Natchitoches Parish of Louisiana, At Fault reflects Chopin’s own life. After two years of widow- hood and successfully running her husband’s business, Chopin left the Natchitoches Parish for St. Louis in mid-1884, partly because of her in- volvement with Albert Sampite, a married man. After a year in St. Louis and shortly after her mother’s death, Chopin began writing for publica- tion. Like Thérèse in At Fault, Chopin faced a decision between love and traditional ethics in her relationship with Sampite. Because Sampite was a southern Catholic, he could not divorce. In Louisiana when a couple did divorce, civil law prohibited either partner from marrying a lover. Conse- quently, Chopin had reason to question what she called an old southern “code of righteousness” that prevented her as well as her female protag- onist in At Fault from

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Dec 1, 2001

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