In the latter half of the 1900’s, Kate Chopin’s writings became more popular. Through Chopin’s use of irony, subtlety, and foreshadowing, her endings depict reality. She applies irony in “Desiree’s Baby,” foreshadowing in “A Pair of Silk Stockings,” and subtlety in “A Respectable Woman.”
Chopin’s use of irony at the end of “Desiree’s Baby” creates a harsh picture of reality. Armand says to Desiree that “the child is not white…You are not white.” Armand is shamed because of the pain he thinks his wife has caused him. After Desiree has left and died, at Armand’s request, Armand comes across a letter written by his mother to his father. The letter reveals that Armand’s mother “belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery.” In all actuality, it is Armand that is part black, not the accused Desiree.
Through Chopin’s application of foreshadowing in “A Pair of Silk Stockings” the reader knows the reality of what Mrs. Sommers does, without Chopin directly stating it. The way Chopin described Mrs. Sommers’ impulses throughout the story, the reader knows that Mrs. Sommers gets off the cable car, even though she experienced “A powerful longing, that the cable car would never stop, but go on with her forever.” In the play scene, Mrs. Sommers only getting a taste of the candy is metaphorical for her only getting a taste of the free life. The fact that Mrs. Sommers only gets a taste tells you that she has to get off the cable car at the end.
At the end of “A Respectable Woman” Chopin uses subtlety to tell the reader the reality of the affair Mrs. Baroda has begun. The way Chopin writes tells the reader more than the characters in the story know. Mrs. Baroda tells her husband that she “shall be very nice to him.” Chopin is telling Mr. Baroda that Mrs. Baroda will be nice, but she is telling the reader that something very sexual will happen between Gouvernail and Mrs. Baroda. There is no actual words that come out and say it, but Kate Chopin’s use of subtlety tells you that it is so.
Kate Chopin as a writer was very much ahead of her time. When people read “Desiree’s Baby,” “A Pair of Silk Stockings,” and “A Respectable Woman” back then, they though Chopin’s writings were vulgar. Her use of subtlety, foreshadowing, and irony apply more to our time than they do to her era.
Subtlety, Foreshadowing, and Irony in Kate Chopin’s Writing
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