“The Kiss”: Kate Chopin Summary

“The Kiss” is a short story by Kate Chopin. It’s about a young woman who’s balancing the interest of two suitors. Here’s a summary of “The Kiss”.

“The Kiss” Kate Chopin Summary

It’s light outside, but with the curtains drawn and a fire going, the room is shadowy. Brantain sits in a shadow and looks longingly at a young woman, Nathalie, who sits in the firelight. She strokes a cat. She’s good-looking and composed.

They make small-talk. She knows he loves her. He’s sincere and has been open about his intentions for two weeks. When he proposes, she plans to accept. He’s not attractive but is very wealthy, and she desires the life this will bring.

During a lull in the conversation, a young man enters the room, walks directly to Nathalie, and kisses her passionately. She couldn’t prevent it. It happened fast and she didn’t realize he hadn’t seen Brantain.

Brantain stands, awkwardly excuses himself, and leaves. Nathalie couldn’t speak. The newcomer apologizes for the awkwardness and asks forgiveness. He came in the house with her brother by the side door. He had no way of knowing. Her forgiveness depends on something unstated.

The Kiss Kate Chopin Summary short story
“The Kiss”: Kate Chopin Summary

Soon after, at a reception, Nathalie approaches Brantain and takes him aside. Although it’s surely nothing to him, she’s been very concerned he may have misinterpreted what happened. Mr. Harvy is a close friend of her brother. She and he are almost like siblings, and he acts like the usual boundaries don’t apply to them. Nathalie is very concerned what Brantain thinks of her. She’s almost crying.

Brantain is moved that his opinion is so important. His face is radiant and hers is triumphant.

At their wedding, Brantain sends Mr. Harvy over to kiss Nathalie. Brantain doesn’t want her marital status to change the pleasant intimacy she shares with Mr. Harvy.

Nathalie feels like a clever chess player who’s winning the game. She waits expectantly for the kiss, but it doesn’t come. Mr. Harvy has stopped kissing women; it’s too dangerous.

Nathalie accepts this loss with equanimity, as one can’t have everything. She has Brantain and his million.

I hope this summary of “The Kiss” by Kate Chopin was helpful.