Short Story #309: A Point at Issue by Kate Chopin

Title:  A Point at Issue

Author:  Kate Chopin

Book cover to The Awakening and Selected Stories of Kate Chopin, by Kate Chopin and edited by Barbara H. Solomon; Signet Classics, 1976. Summary

The story begins with the announcement in a newspaper of the Eleanor Gail to Charles Faraday.  The announcement is limited which frustrates the public, something Eleanor is good at.  As a professor of mathematics, Charles is quite happy with his new wife, not only for her beauty and her charm, but he intelligence and logic.  They enjoyed each other immensely and supported one another in growth and learning.  Part of that growth is Eleanor's desire to learn French and so they agree that she should live in Paris for a prolonged time to learn the language.  Many of their friends are perplexed by this, but they claim things they are stronger than their expectations.  In their open letters back and forth during this time, Charles writes to mention how a woman was increasingly enamored with him.  He makes note of this and notices that she did not promptly response and when she did, it was rather withdrawn.  Later on, he goes to visit her and though their reuniting is agreeable, it's clear there is something amiss.  When a servant comes to announce someone, Eleanor tells her to tell the servant that they are busy.  Later on, when Eleanor is out, Charles takes it upon himself to go out on the town.  When he does, he witnesses his wife riding with a man and both appear happy and friendly.  Charles is filled with jealousy and feeling like he has lost his wife.  However, upon his return, he finds her with the man.  She introduces the man as the artist and shows the picture that he had painted upon Eleanor's request for Charles so that he doesn't have to miss her when he is away.  After this, Charles encourages her to return home.  During this conversation, Charles asks about Eleanor's response when he had mentioned the young woman who had a crush on him.  She admits that she had felt pangs of jealousy.  As they laugh over the issue, Charles thinks to himself how no woman can ever be more than she is, completely unaware of his hypocrisy in the judgment. 


Overall, this was a fun story in terms of the contrast between the two.  I like that Chopin captures that small jealousies that do occur in lovers and how often each are oblivious to their own level of jealousy.  Of course, it is no surprise in a Chopin tale that the woman is willing to admit it while the man remains silent and oblivious to it.

Short Story #309 out of 365
Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  11/01/2014
Source:  The Awakening and Selected Stories of Kate Chopin, by Kate Chopin and edited by Barbara H. Solomon; Signet Classics, 1976.  The story can also be found at this website for free.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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