Bayou Folk is Chopin’s 1894 collection of stories that present the people of Natchitoches Parish as they live and love in daily life. Chopin’s skill as a local colorist as well as an adept storyteller is evident in her perfect rendering of people, places, and events of the area and time. She uses universal themes, such as prejudice and interracial relationships, that are not common in regional fiction. Another of Chopin’s collections is A Night in Acadie, written in 1897. Critics recognize this collection, too, for Chopin’s skill as a local colorist. The difference in this collection and Bayou Folk is that in A Night in Acadie, Chopin’s characters express their individuality more and recognize and heed impulses that are socially unacceptable. Chopin emphasizes more sensuous themes, and reviewers voiced their concerns.
Chopin’s third volume of works, A Vocation and a Voice, was not published in its entirety until 1991. Publishers prior to this time continued to question the appropriateness of Chopin’s choice of themes. They failed to recognize the work for its outstanding treatment of such psychological elements as human consciousness and its relationship to circumstance, motivation, and action. The stories in this collection reflect less of Chopin’s ability as a local colorist and more of her skill at understanding individual motives.
The White Dove is a 1986 novel written by Rosie Thomas. Set in Great Britain in the 1930s, the story is about Amy Lovell, a young woman of the upper middle class who chooses a career over a life of luxury. Amy falls in love with Nick Penry, who is not only from a vastly different background but who also is a fiery socialist. Amy’s search for a useful and fulfilling life forces her to make difficult choices.
G. J. Scrimgeour wrote A Woman of Her Times to portray a woman who is torn between the respectable roles of wife and mother and the necessity of leading her own life. This is a story about a woman who starts out in pre-World War I Ceylon as a young British colonial wife, becomes a London socialite in the 1920s, moves through a period in the 1930s of being an impoverished working mother, and reaches the place in life where she feels she has survived as herself.
Coming of Age in Samoa was considered shocking when it was published in 1928 as a psychological study. Dr. Margaret Mead, anthropologist, was only 23 when she started the study of Samoan children to determine if stress experienced by American children is a “natural” part of growing up. The results of the study confirmed that actions we have often attributed to “human nature” are actually reactions to civilization’s restraints. Mead emphasized every child’s right to know and to choose freely.
The Awakening is the basis for the film The End of August, released in 1982. Produced by Warren Jacobson and Sally Sharp, the film features Sally Sharp as Edna and David Marshall Grant as Robert.