Short Story #312: Madame Celestin's Divorce by Kate Chopin

Title:  Madame Celestin's Divorce

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

Madame Celestin regularly encounters the Lawyer Paxton as she cleans her small front yard.  They usually have an amiable conversation, though the conversation is often about the absent husband who continues to leave her in dire straights.  Celestin contemplates divorce but her friends and family condemn the idea.  By contrast, Paxton encourages her to pursue this path as the husband has been absent for six months and hasn't provided any means of support and when he is around, he is known to abuse her.  Their conversations continue over a brief period of time and Celestin seems on the brink of going for the divorce.  During this time, the lawyer also becomes increasingly fond of Celestin and hopes to marry her after the divorce.  Paxton visits again and inquires about the potential divorce.  Celestin admits that she has decided not to pursue it as her husband has returned and promised he wouldn't do it again.

Reflection

And with that, you can hear the collective "don't do it!" from every reader that has ever come upon this story.  These stories are most frustrating because we have all met a Celestin in our lives (more than one, likely) that falls into the exact trap that she is in.  

Short Story #312 out of 365
Rating: 2 (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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