Seven Short Stories by Kate Chopin: A Study Guide is ideal for individual readers, literature classes and reading groups. It covers seven of Chopin's most popular and important stories: "At the 'Cadian Ball", "Desiree's Baby", "A Gentleman of Bayou St. John", "A Respectable Woman", "The Story of an Hour", "A Pair of Silk Stockings" and "The Storm".
The format of the guide is the same for each story:
1. A brief introduction to publication;
2. Study Questions
The questions are designed to be used on a first reading of the story (though they can, of course, be used if students happen to have read the story already). The aim is not to test but to help students to understand the text. The questions do not normally have simple answers, nor is there always one answer. Consider a range of possible interpretations - preferably by discussing the questions with others. Disagreement is encouraged! NO ANSWERS are provided for the reasons stated above, though readers will find that the later commentary sections cover most of the issues raised in the questions.
3. Post-Reading Activities
The post-reading activities are more focused on the text, and for this reason suggested answers (which make no claim to be either complete or definitive) ARE included in a later section.
This section provides extracts from critics which have been selected to stimulate thought, discussion and controversy.
5. Dramatis personӕ: List of Significant Characters
This section provides a description of the essential facts about each character in the story.
The relationship of the story to various genres is explained.
7. Narrative Voice
Examines Chopin's use of narrative perspective and tone.
The most important ideas explored and expressed in the story are covered in detail.
The author’s use of symbolism in the story is analyzed.
In addition there iare:
10. Definitions of key literary terms and an activity;
11. Ideas for groupings for classroom discussion, feedback, and presentation;
12. One graphic organizer for student notes;
13. A guide to further reading and bibliography.