Short Story #310: A Shameful Affair by Kate Chopin

Title:  A Shameful Affair

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. Mildred is visiting the Kraummer farm.  She watches regularly as the farmhands come up to the porch to receive their meal.  They avoid much interaction but when one picks up a paper that she had tossed in their path, she takes an interest in him.  He is described as brown with blue eyes and fair hair and a favorable body.  She was interested in pursuing him if nothing else to make time pass during the summer.  She decides to focus on this man and ultimately seduce him.  She first inquires about the man to learn about him and has Mrs. Kraummer ask him to drive her to church the next day.  The man refuses, claiming that he is going fishing.  Mrs. Kraummer offers another person but she declines.  The next time he came to the porch, he does actually look at her with a look that only stirs Mildred's interest.  The next day she goes for a walk in the woods and encounters the man.  She greets him and asks if she can watch.  He acquiesces and is silent as she watches.  She instructs him to let her give a try and he agrees.  As she lays her hands on the fishing pole, there is a tug on the line.  He leaps to help her and goes to put his hands on the pole but ends up on her hands.  From this, the two embrace in a kiss.  However, no sooner is the kiss over than he has taken off.  In his absence, she contemplates whether she should report him but finally decides to keep quiet.  The kiss does send into further confusion as it was so enjoyable but something she believes she should not necessarily be doing.  The next morning, she finds her book on the porch that she had left on the path the day before.  While contemplating her presence on the farm, she receives a letter from a friend that inquires whether she has met one of the farmhands who is from where they are from and working the farm just to work it.  She realizes that this must be the man whom she is torn over.  Later, the man confronts her and eloquently begs an apology.  She says that she might forgive him when she is willing to forgive herself some day.  It takes him a moment but he understands what she means.


I like how the name of the story has several meanings.  Is the shameful affair making out with the farmhand or her perceptions about the man who may be of equal social status or her inability to properly seduce a man.  It's in all likelihood a mixture of them all.  

Short Story #310 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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