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The Unexpected by Kate Chopin

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In this short story that is set in the Victorian ages, Dorothea the traditional Victorian women is married to her husband who works and Dorothea stays at home. Her husband Randall gets sick in the story and has to go to his home and get better. Dorothea cannot bare the separation, however when she next sees him in an ill state she decides this isn’t what she wants and flees. She runs away to somewhere she or any other Victorian women has ever been to… freedom. Kate Chopin explores the position of Victorian women very well in this short story and it starts right at the beginning when Randall has to part because of him being ill.

The short and snappy descriptive words creative a good impact on how Victorian women were. It creates this impression that would not be normal to any other Victorian women reading this story. We have always thought of the marriage between any other Victorian couple to be plain and simple but the affection and emotion that Kate Chopin writes steers us from this. In the opening paragraphs Chopin creates this impression of mutual attraction between the couple of Dorothea and Randall by saying the “parting was bitter” stating that when they said goodbye it was hard for them.

Already straight away we did not expect this and for there to be more the reader is shocked in the opening paragraph. By shocked I mean this because you do not really expect this from a Victorian couple. “Lingering kisses and sighs” Dorothea could not bare being apart. She used words like “torture” and “impatient” and this shows how Chopin has expressed how Dorothea is feeling. All this is all very sensual and tells us that Dorothea at this point in the story seems very much in love with Randall.

The unexpected it yet to come; when Randall returns Dorothea’s feelings are very different. Kate Chopin shows this by stating, “this was not the man that went away” Straight away this tells us that she could be slightly feeling different. “The man she loved and promised to marry” She has changed her mind. “Hideous transformation…. skin waxy and hectic….. clothing hung loosely” How Chopin writes this shows that Dorothea was very much in love with Randall’s face, his looks, maybe once not his personality as we have nothing yet that proves this.

I think that Dorothea was very disappointed and had missed him and she wanted to see him very badly although he was not better yet and should have waited because this put her off. Randall is very much in love with Dorothea at this point in the story but Dorothea in not in love with Randall and this is causing a conflict. Chopin makes the reader sympathise with Dorothea by describing Randall as “hungrily” kissing her – this gives the image of a parasite, which is very negative.

When Dorothea realises that she doesn’t want to marry Randall anymore she flees to the countryside. This is something quite significant because Dorothea has never been there before, and it shows that in the countryside she can be herself by herself. Chopin makes a good point of this because no Victorian women have ever fled before and any Victorian women reading this might be in a state of shock. When Chopin next emphasizes the fact that she is far from civilisation by writing about Dorothea fleeing down a “rough and unfrequented road”.

It means that she is making the choice of no marriage, taking a new direction. Chopin also emphasizes the far from civilisation by describing the area around her as “no human habitation” “old fallow field” “weedy smell as summer” it all shows that she is far from civilisation and she has to be brave and independent. Dorothea might also be in unfamiliar territory because where she is and the nature she is in there is no control. There are no rules in the middle of nowhere. In her old life she had no control.

Towards the end of the story Chopin describes how Dorothea is feeling well “pulses beating in unison” a deep sense of harmony with herself, feeling and experiencing everything for the first time. Physical emotion and freedom and at the end of the story Dorothea probably feels relaxed, free, happy, satisfied and reassured with herself. In this short story Kate Chopin explores the position of women in the nineteenth century in many different ways and there are many reasons why this story lives up to its title being Unexpected: * Dorothea and Randall share lots of passion with one another. Dorothea completely changes the state of her mind when she sees him, even thought he is in an ill state and would get better. * She does not want to marry him and flees.

At the end of the story I feel quite disappointed that Dorothea did not want to marry Randall anymore for a bit of a lame reason. For Dorothea’s reasons I feel more optimistic that she managed to get away rather than marrying him. I think what really got herself together was the fact that he was weak from being ill and she decided that it really wasn’t what she wanted.

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