Been a while, friends. You’ll be happy to know I’ve closed this semester with straight As. Woot!
Desiree’s Baby by Kate Chopin
Most of you may know Chopin from her most popular short story, The story of an Hour, which exposed the inner workings of a woman’s mind after the death of her husband. Her crusade to reveal the lives of women in the nineteenth century continues in Desiree’s Baby.
A woman of unknown origin is adopted by a well-off family. She grows up and eventually marries a man of status in the region. The young couple are deeply in love–that is until the birth of their child. This particular child resembles some of the other children on the property: the African-American children. How will it all end?!
Chopin writes her stories in masterful form! I absolutely love how smart and useful every piece of information shapes the story, and adds to the injustice of the outcome. In her time, Chopin ripped off the veil of social norms involving women, and, sadly, her point is still prevalent in today’s world.
Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Just like Chopin, Hawthorne plays with similar themes in his stories. Everyone knows his timeless classic, The Scarlet Letter, which involves the disgrace of a Puritan woman. Young Goodman Brown also deals with disgrace and Puritans, but from the side of the accuser.
Goodman Brown is out to chase sin. He is a devout Puritan who cannot resist the temptation calling him to the man who waits for him in the forest outside Salem, Mass. Leaving behind his wife, Faith, Goodman Brown travels into the woods and is driven mad by what he finds there…
Hawthorne, whose ancestors were Puritan persecutors of witches, clearly struggled with the history of his religion. His symbolism seems clear from the beginning, but read deeper into the story to see the hypocrisy of religion leaves in Hawthorne’s mouth.