Bayou Folk and a Night in Acadie
In the decade prior to the publication of her landmark novel, The Awakening (1899), Kate Chopin wrote about ninety short stories. She gathered twenty ... Show synopsis In the decade prior to the publication of her landmark novel, The Awakening (1899), Kate Chopin wrote about ninety short stories. She gathered twenty-three of them in a collection entitled Bayou Folk in 1894, and followed that three years later with a collection of twenty-one more in A Night in Acadie. Together, these nuanced portraits of nineteenth-century inhabitants of New Orleans and Natchitoches Parish exquisitely form a sort of Southern novel of manners. Chopin was deeply influenced by the work of French and American realists. Many of the stories in Bayou Folk concern young people seeking good marriage partners and better lives for themselves. Expanding this theme into a search for balance and harmony, personal fulfillment, and cultural richness, A Night in Acadie is, Bernard Koloski notes in his Introduction, "one of America's best nineteenth-century collections of short stories -- and one of the most compassionate views of life in American realistic fiction". With a gentle, knowing gaze, Chopin evoked the distant world of Louisiana plantations and 'Cadian balls, and anticipated the thoroughly modern multi-ethnic, gender-sensitive, and sexually charged world of our century.