Literature, Language, and Life

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Realism/Romanticism in Kate Chopin’s short stories:


Realism portrays that a story is not imaginative or ideal, instead it is conveyed in a detailed, and unexaggerated way. Presenting that the characters live a life that is very casual and comparable to the normal living standards of society.

Realism is found in Kate Chopin’s stories such as “Beyond the Bayou”.

In “Beyond the Bayou”, La Folle who is a black woman living in a cabin near the Bayou takes care of her masters son Cheri. La Folle’s diction expressed in the story is seen as casual, which is one of the elements of realism. For example, she states on page 42: “Don’t you look fo no deer, Cheri. Dat’s too big. But you bring La Folle one good fat squirrel fo her dinner to-morrow, an she goin be satisfy.”

The way La Folle Communicates with her master’s son is a common, showing her real self and not a modified way of speaking. Using concrete words such as food reveal to the readers that this is a necessity to survive in life and this also shows realism.

The time frame in “Beyond the Bayou is taken place in the late 19th century many years after the civil war. La Folle’s Cabin is located across of the bayou where she hasn’t crossed until Cheri had gotten injured. The time frame and setting show signs of realism because there is a specific reference of the place in history the story is being taken, in and how La Folle lives in a cabin where most slaves lived in at that time and is a realistic home for her. Slavery in the story is a major aspect of realism because it shows inequality in society and how La Folle is a black woman living in a society where slavery is alive and the struggles she has to deal with.


Romanticism is imaginative and idealistic, where the plot is more of a focus than the characters. The story is usually exaggerated and mysterious with formal diction, and the ending is of happiness.

Romanticism is also sprinkled onto the story of “Beyond the Bayou” when La folle crossed the bayou to save her masters son Cheri. As the story comes off to a close, she sits and watches the bayou from the other side with happiness and interest, this shows mysteriousness and causes the reader to ask, what is going to happen next?

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