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At Fault   By: (1850-1904)

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At Fault by Kate Chopin is a compelling and insightful novel that delves into the complexities of love, duty, and societal expectations in late 19th century Louisiana. Set against the backdrop of a post-Civil War society, the book explores the inner turmoil and conflicts faced by its protagonist, Therese Lafirme.

Chopin's writing skillfully portrays Therese as a woman torn between her love for her deceased husband and her growing affection for David Hosmer, her close friend and neighbor. As a widow, Therese is burdened by the conventions of the time, which dictate that she should live a life of mourning and solitude. However, her friendship with David ignites a spark within her that is impossible to ignore, leading her to question her own desires and the expectations placed upon her.

What sets At Fault apart from other novels of its time is Chopin's nuanced exploration of the racial dynamics within Louisiana society. Therese's close relationship with the mixed-race Cazeau family introduces readers to the complex racial divisions and prejudices of the era. Through her interactions with these characters, Chopin challenges the reader to question the arbitrary nature of society's racial boundaries and the limited options available to those whose lives are constrained by them.

The novel also examines the concept of personal responsibility and the consequences of one's actions. Chopin brilliantly reveals the interconnectedness of the characters' lives, weaving a complex web that ultimately leads to a tragic climax. Each character is faced with their own demons and must confront the choices they have made, confronting the consequences head-on.

One of the novel's strengths is Chopin's vivid and evocative descriptions, which transport readers to the vibrant landscape of Louisiana. The lush and atmospheric setting serves as a backdrop to the emotional journey of the characters, heightening the intensity of their experiences.

While the pacing of the novel may feel slow at times, Chopin's insightful exploration of the human heart and its capacity for love, betrayal, and forgiveness makes it a worthwhile read. At Fault leaves readers pondering timeless questions about duty, passion, and the complexities of the human experience, ensuring its lasting impact.

First Page:

[Transcriber's note: There was no table of contents in the original book; one has been added in this project to ease the navigation.]

At Fault

by Kate Chopin

Part I.

I. The Mistress of Place du Bois. II. At the Mill. III. In the Pirogue. IV. A Small Interruption. V. In the Pine Woods. VI. Melicent Talks. VII. Painful Disclosures. VIII. Treats of Melicent. IX. Face to Face. X. Fanny's Friends. XI. The Self Assumed Burden. XII. Severing Old Ties.

Part II.

I. Fanny's First Night at Place du Bois. II. "Neva to See You!" III. A Talk Under the Cedar Tree. IV. Thérèse Crosses the River. V. One Afternoon. VI. One Night. VII. Melicent Leaves Place du Bois. VIII. With Loose Rein. IX. The Reason Why. X. Perplexing Things. XI. A Social Evening. XII. Tidings That Sting. XIII. Melicent Hears the News. XIV. A Step Too Far. XV. A Fateful Solution. XVI. To Him Who Waits. XVII. Conclusion.



The Mistress of Place du Bois.

When Jérôme Lafirme died, his neighbors awaited the results of his sudden taking off with indolent watchfulness. It was a matter of unusual interest to them that a plantation of four thousand acres had been left unincumbered to the disposal of a handsome, inconsolable, childless Creole widow of thirty... Continue reading book >>

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