Kate Chopin wrote many short stories dealing with domestic issues, racism, and independent women, among other things. I’ve included links and an approximate word count where possible.
Kate Chopin Short Stories
A Vocation and a Voice (1991) Kate Chopin Short Stories
Yes, that date of 1991 is correct. This planned collection was cancelled by Chopin’s publisher and wasn’t printed until 1991, but the stories in it were published in periodicals long before.
“The Story of an Hour” | 1,010 words
A woman receives the news that her husband has been killed in a train accident. She processes the news over the next hour, experiencing a range of emotions.
Read “The Story of an Hour” (Includes Summary & Analysis)
Brantain sits in a dim room at the home of Nathalie, who sits by the firelight. He loves her and has made his intentions known during the past two weeks. They talk of inconsequential things. Suddenly, a young man enters the room and, not seeing Brantain in the darkness, walks straight for Nathalie. (Summary)
“The Night Came Slowly” | 300 words
The narrator is losing interest in people and books. She prefers to lie under a maple tree at night.
Read “The Night Came Slowly” (with Summary & Themes)
Mme. Adrienne Farival returns to the convent as she does each spring. She lived here as a girl; now she’s an actress and performer in Paris. There’s much excitement as she approaches, and Sister Agathe runs out to meet her. Adrienne has a very dignified reunion with the Mother Superior. She presents the gift she has brought—an embroidered linen altar cloth of exceptional quality. Adrienne is assigned to room with Agathe during her stay.
A woman takes a thick bundle of letters from her desk. She had asked a man to return them all to her four years ago. She meant to destroy them but couldn’t. She knows she won’t be around forever to guard them, so she’s going to throw them into the fire. After burning a few, she starts to panic over the loss. She comes up with another plan.
“An Idle Fellow” | 375 words
The narrator is tired after years of studying. She sits on a door-step with her friend Paul. He’s an idle man who likes to observe nature and people.
“The Unexpected” | 1,255 words
Randall must leave Dorothea, his beloved. He has necessary business to attend to and will be gone a month. The separation is a cruelty to both of them, and they can hardly bear the parting. They write to each other daily. As the month nears its end, Randall contracts an illness.
Read “The Unexpected”
“Fedora” | 1,020 words
A thirty-year-old woman, Fedora, is headed to the train station to pick up Miss Malthers. Fedora is in love with this woman’s brother, Young Malthers. One day she noticed suddenly that he had become a man, and he has been on her mind ever since.
“The Blind Man” | 750 words
A blind man walks on the sunny side of the street. He’s trying to sell lead pencils. They were given to him by someone who wanted to get him out of the way. Finding customers is very difficult. There are steps, locked gates, and the task of finding the doorbell.
Read “The Blind Man”
A Night in Acadie (1897) Kate Chopin Short Stories
“Regret” | 1,500 words
An unmarried, fifty year-old country woman is called on to look after a neighbor’s children for a while. She gradually adjusts to their presence and needs. (Summary)
“Ripe Figs” | Very Short
A girl wants to visit her cousins but her Godmother says she has to wait until the figs are ripe. (Summary)
Read “Ripe Figs”
“Caline” | 900 words
Caline is sleeping in a field near her isolated home when she is awakened by a stopping train. This has never happened before. She has a brief meeting with some of the passengers. She wants to find out where they’re from and where they’re going.
“A Respectable Woman” | 1,450 words
Mrs. Baroda’s husband tells her that his friend, Gouvernail, is going to stay with them for a while. She was looking forward to some quiet time after doing a lot of entertaining. Her husband thinks very highly of Gouvernail, but she isn’t impressed with him.
Bayou Folk (1894) Kate Chopin Short Stories
“Desiree’s Baby” | 2,150 words
Desiree had been adopted as a toddler. She is now an adult with a baby of her own. She and her husband, Armand, are very happy. After a while, there are some whispers about the baby. (Summary & Analysis)
“Beyond the Bayou” | 2,250 words
An African-American woman, La Folle, was frightened “out of her senses” as a child. As a result, she won’t cross an imaginary line in her area; she has never been beyond the bayou. (Summary)
“At the ‘Cadian Ball”
Bobinôt wasn’t planning on going to the ball—even though Calixta would be there—until he found out Alcée was going. A cyclone has just destroyed the rice crop Alcée was working hard on. The men admire his nerve for showing himself at the ball after such a misfortune. Calixta is the belle of the ball.
Other Kate Chopin Short Stories
These stories weren’t published in a collection but can be found in a “complete” volume or possibly in a “selected” volume.
“A Pair of Silk Stockings” | 1,900 words
Mrs. Sommers, a great bargain hunter and responsible mother and wife, finds herself with a little extra money. She thinks of all the practical things she could do with it, but gets distracted when she examines a fine pair of silk stockings.
This is the sixth story in the preview of 50 Greatest Short Stories.
“A Point at Issue!” | 4,300 words
Eleanor and Charles, newlyweds, go on their honeymoon and then, because of different interests, decide to spend time apart. Local society doesn’t approve of married people living this way.
“A Reflection” | 250 words
The narrator reflects on people who are born with a “vital and responsive energy”, and compares them to herself.
“A Shameful Affair” | 2,250 words
Mildred Orme, a young woman, is staying at an acquaintance’s country house. She spends her days sitting on the front porch, reading. One day when the farmhands are coming in for lunch, one of her papers blows off the railing. A young man hands it to her; he stays on her mind in the coming days.
“The Storm” | 1,900 words
While her husband is waiting out a storm at a local store, Calixta is at home. She goes to bring in her laundry from the front porch when she sees an old love, Alcee. She invites him inside.
I’ll keep adding Kate Chopin short stories as I read more.