Kate Chopin (1850–1904) published her first collection of short stories, Bayou Folk, in 1894. The twenty-three stories are loosely linked by recurring characters who live in a rural area in Louisiana before and after the Civil War. The stories were well received, and several have been widely anthologized, including “Désirée’s Baby,” the story of a young woman whose husband rejects her after making a startling discovery about their baby’s heritage. The story, set before the war, explores issues of race, class, and hypocrisy.


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