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At Fault

In: English and Literature

Submitted By delta4983
Words 1103
Pages 5
Professor Marc McGrath
American Literature 221
31 August 2014

"At Fault" by Kate Chopin is a great American novel and wonderful piece of American Literature, the novel takes place after the civil war and is set in the state of Louisiana. Like most would think, back in those days there were a lot of plantations and farming was big back then. Like in the novel, there is a plantation and there were some four thousands acres it rested on. There are many great characters in the novel by Kate Chopin, Thérèse Lafirme, owner of the Place-du-Bois plantation, David Hosmer, manager of the sawmill on the Place-du-Bois plantation, Fanny Larimore, Lorenzo Worthington, and Jack Dawson, just to name a few. With so many characters in the novel it wasn't easy to chose just one that truly had that uniquely American character. The character I did end up choosing from the novel by Kate Chopin in "At Fault" was the character of Thérèse Lafirme, owner of the Place-du-Bois plantation. If you begin to just read the very first paragraph from the novel, you see that Thérèse Lafirme has suffered a tragic event, the loss of her husband, Jérôme Lafirme, and the passing of him left her in possession and charge of the large plantation. Not the death of her husband but the fact that her and her husband and had such a large plantation was the American dream back then, and this showed that she was American. Even though Thérèse Lafirme was a Creole lady which meant she was in this case a woman that was born in Louisiana, but she did have some French ancestry in her. This again ties into that unique American characteristics. If you look at all Americans, we all came from somewhere, either that of European decent, Spanish, or African. So we can all relate to Thérèse Lafirme and her ancestry background. Thérèse Lafirme also shows example of being independent and not being pushed or persuaded into doing modern architectural, that is the beauty of being in America, you are free to chose what you want to do and Thérèse Lafirme expressed that. Thérèse Lafirme throughout this novel shows great American spirit, her sense of entrepreneurship with having the plantation and doing things the way she wanted. Back in the late nineteenth century women were not viewed as being independent and being able to run plantations and do things on their own, most believed you needed a man in order to accomplish and manage those types of things. That was not the case with Thérèse Lafirme in this novel, she is the perfect example of a character that is uniquely American. The story like I mentioned does take place in the late nineteenth century and the location that the novel is referring to is a place in northwestern Louisiana, and Thérèse Lafirme lives on Place-du-Bois plantation, the name it's self gives it away that it is in Louisiana and French as well. Thérèse Lafirme being who she was, is like us all, we can't pass up on love or a second chance, even though Thérèse Lafirme did have strong moral beliefs and religious one too, she still found herself blushing when she meets David Hosmer, "Thérèse was of a roundness of figure suggesting a future of excessive fullness if not judiciously guarded; and she was fair, with a warm whiteness that a passing thought could deepen into color. The waving blonde hair, gathered in an abundant coil on top of her head, grew away with a pretty sweep from the temples, the low forehead and nape of the white neck that showed above a frill of soft lace. Her eyes were blue, as certain gems are; that deep blue that lights, and glows, and tells things of the soul. When David Hosmer presented himself, they were intense only with expectancy and the color was in her cheek like the blush in a shell'. (Chopin)
With this part of the novel, you can start to see more of who Thérèse Lafirme is and what she believes in. Let's face it, it is everyone's dream to truly find love and someone to share our life with, even though Thérèse Lafirme is a widow, and she does have strong religious and moral beliefs, deep down she wants to be happy. You see this again when talking to Hosmer,
“Mrs. Lafirme,” said Hosmer, seeming moved to pursue the subject, and addressing the spray of white blossoms that adorned Thérèse’s black hat, “you admit, I suppose, that in urging your views upon me, you have in mind the advancement of my happiness?”(Chopin).
Thérèse Lafirme is set in her ways, she knows what she wants and how she feels. Looking back at Louisiana and the state after the civil war in which this novel takes place, Louisiana did seceded from the Union and join the Confederacy, President Lincoln did want to bring the sides together, but his assignation only put the state of Louisiana in turmoil and the state of Louisiana did suffer during the reconstruction, and some of the Plantations never did recover (Infoplease). You can see why for Thérèse Lafirme it was hard having to run the Plantation being a widow who lost her husband. With everything that was going on and the sawmill, you can see what makes Thérèse Lafirme so American, and yes she might be Creole but she still had the American drive the American dream and no matter what she did not let get her down, and she stood up for what she believed in and what she felt was right and didn't let anything or anyone stand between that, and you could feel that though out the entire novel. Having American Sprit is great and means something different to everyone and no matter what when having strong morals and beliefs like Thérèse Lafirme, it is easy to see the American way, even if it took place over a hundred years ago. Cultural influences and those we hang around like in the novel can drive and dictate how we act, but stay true to who you are like Thérèse Lafirme did, and the American Sprit will live on. Works Cited
Chopin, Kate. "At Fault." Bernard Koloski, Web. 31 Aug. 2014. <>.
"Creole | Define Creole at" N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2014.
Infoplease: Encyclopedia, Almanac, Atlas, Biographies, Dictionary, Thesaurus. Free online reference, research & homework help. | N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2014.

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