Where does a writer find their spark of inspiration? Writing a novel or story starts with a vision. Many authors collect ideas from their own personal life to shape their works. Family, environments, devastating experiences, and the way you are raised can all spark an idea. Chopin’s background which includes her family, her environments, and her many experiences with death in her lifetime all had an impact on her writing and shaped her into the successful writer she is famous for being.
Chopin’s non-traditional family paved the way for her outlook on life. Kate Chopin was born in St. Louis Missouri on February 8, 1851. Her father’s name is Thomas O’Flaherty. He was originally from Ireland but had found his way to New York and Illinois
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When Kate Chopin was at the age of five she was sent to boarding school and was enrolled at St. Louis Academy of the Sacred Heart. The Catholic academy taught Kate Chopin to think brilliantly, learning French history, language, and culture. The St. Louis Academy of Sacred Heart and her exposure to French culture in her early childhood influenced the mixture of French with American themes in her writing. (Long) However, being sent off to school away from family at such a young period in her life created a feeling of loneliness. This loneliness would influence her work “The Awakening”. (Toth) After Kate Chopin graduated from Sacred Heart in 1868, she traveled a year later to New Orleans where she met her future husband, Oscar Chopin. Oscar and Kate Chopin were wed in 1870. After Oscar’s business suffered, during 1878 and 1879 during a yellow jacket epidemic that damaged crops, Oscar ended up moving his family and job. Oscar and Kate Chopin traveled the world, eventually settling in Louisiana where he managed a few small farms he owned. (Long) Kate and Oscar had five sons, Jean, Oscar Charles, George, Frederick, and Felix. (Wyatt) In 1883, Kate Chopin’s husband died of swamp fever, leaving her to care and raise her six children alone. Kate helplessly tried to pick up the work and maintain the farms where her husband left off but gave up after one year. She ended up leaving Clotierville taking her kids to live in St. Louis with