Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Liberal Studies

First Advisor

William J. Sowder, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Fillmer Hevener, Jr. Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William L. Frank, Ph.D.


My thesis concentrates on Mrs.Katherine O'Flaherty Chopin, a Southerner who published between 1889 and 1899, and who, for years, was considered an obsolete Local Colorist. She is now enjoying a revival of interest which must be attributed to her importance as a writer who exhibited those precepts upon which modern literature is based - those found in the movements of Realism and Naturalism.

With literary roots in the Local Color mode,Mrs.Chopin's early works exemplify, to some extent at least, all of its principles. While she falters somewhat in the dominant literary technique, we find the Local Colorist's emphasis on geography, characters, and especially in sympathetic treatment of common people.

Kate Chopin moves quickly out of Local Color into the emerging Realism of her time and the bulk of her writing lies within this mode. The general characteristics of Howells' Realism abound. This study takes a detailed look at those characteristics and at her use of plot, development of characters, and recurrent themes within the Realistic mode .

Mrs. Chopin further evidences a progression toward the Naturalism fostered by Emile Zola. She categorically rejects the technique of this mode, but reveals leanings toward its philosophy. She is beginning to accept the animalism of man and to see him as a product of his heredity and environment, evidence of which is seen especially in Edna Pontellier, the heroine of her final publication, The Awakening. That she has moved, from her start in Local Color through Realism,to the edge, at least, of this movement would indicate, I believe, her importance as a transitional writer.



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