Chopin and Maupassant
NARRATOR: Kate Chopin had a style all her own among American female writers in the U.S. back in the late 1800s. However, she may have been influenced heavily by French writers.
SOUNDBITE: Barbara Ewell/Loyola University (New Orleans)
That early exposure to French literature I think was an important influence on her writing.
NARRATOR: In fact, Chopin's most important literary influences were French authors; Moliere, Daudet, Zola and Maupassant. She apparently idolized Maupassant. She said, "I read his stories and marvel at them. Here was life, not fiction; for where were the plots, the old fashioned mechanism and stage trapping that in a vague, unthinking way I had fancied were essential to the art of story making."
SOUNDBITE: E.F. Genovese/Emory University
A typical Maupassant story has a surprise ending. There's a twist that, the first time you read it you may say my goodness. I never could have predicted this. It's sort of a gasp of shock. But the shock jars you into going back and re-reading and in that sense the ending governs what comes before it. Chopin adopted that technique for her own purposes. And, I think took it very seriously.