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Despite the differences concerning the various ways that people speak, interact, and respond to issues affecting them they always share characteristics some of which can be uniquely identified as Americanism. Individualism is one major character that Americans are taught since childhood to take care of themselves. Character privacy, every American treats his or her life with a high degree of seclusion in personal matters. Future-oriented is another trait that every American must have in order to survive. Lack of thought for the future brings poverty. Americans believe in family life with the parents striving to make the lives of their children better and stable material. Religion is another character that Americans differ with from other communities. They tend to have clear cut lines between the religion aspects and other issues of life. Social ways courtesy; Americans respect other people’s private lives and go to the extent to tolerate even the people who seem to have behaviors that other communities tend to discriminate. Sex roles and friendships; Americans believe that people should be able to exercise maturity in matters of sexuality. Entrepreneurs. America is a capitalist nation and economics stability is required since everyone has to earn his or her living. And regard to as immoral. Is It is not possible to depict a complete character of a typical American without relying on artistic materials and journals written on American or Americans history in the colonial and independence eras.
Writing is one way artist have exhaustively expressed the way of life of individuals as they try to fit in the community, and changing social , political and religious issues brought about by diverse leadership styles, economic fluctuations and ambitions. Writers and novelists are of great significance when it comes to highlighting community’s cultural characters and values through review of their works and creativity. It’s hard to create artistic work without the artist identifying with the community with which the object or the subject is based. Literature is a reflection of society cultural and behavioral reactions towards issues affecting people’s lives and interpersonal interactions. Kate Chopin in her novel “At fault” exhaustively uses characters to pass information and message of his ideas and view of the community the way she feels and reacts. Through the characters, the reader can identify with different subjects in the novel as the plot unfolds exhibiting various traits of the characters in the novel as they react to issues they find themselves entangled.
The American spirit is fully exploited. Looking beyond the main plot Theresa Lafirme uniquely portrays the American traits and beliefs. In the novel, she symbolizes what the American dreams and spirit is despite her having come from Creole. She asserts individualism in the manner that she handles issues and circumstances. The importance and significance of an American woman through her persistent fight for women’s independence, desire to succeed, and her fight for emotions and love. Through the elements presented through the book, like the protagonist, setting, and motivation help in clearly displaying the role of a woman in shaping the social dynamic issues that affect the community.
The book is set in the post-reconstruction of America in the late nineteenth century in Louisiana, also characterized as the indigenous south. Theresa resides in a plantation locate near Cane river in Louisiana. Theresa owns the land and the plantation and portrays self-reliance and a Heroine work. The death of her husband is a big loss to her and does not set her back. Instead, it appears as the beginning of new opportunities and possibilities. The loss is treated as a “new found freedom” just as her activities depict. They portray a picture of a woman who is complete and knows who and what she is, she is shown as a woman with the sense of the community in which she belongs and her desires are not deterred by the many obstacles that present themselves in her quest to liberate herself(Chopin, 893). Teresa Theresa is portrayed as a go getter and has no problem attaining her desires. She is “the perfect woman” who stands so until the arrival of an engineer Hosmer who rents a piece of her land and establishes a mill. Hosmer, who is a Yankee, presents cultural conflicts between the Creoles who are French speakers and live lives that only the French can. Theresa identifies herself with the Creoles culture which is a French element, a tradition that protestant Americans seem to be lacking. Theresa “treasures those traditions and values that add warmth and beauty to life” (Skaggs, 86).
Theresa is portrayed as sexually and morally upright when Hosmer, who is divorced falls in love with her and asks for her advice, she tells him to remarry his former wife. “Theresa with her pretty Creole tact was long in bringing these seemingly incongruent elements into some degree of harmony”(844). Hosmer feels that since he is divorced he can freely marry Theresa. The protestant modern Americans seem to disapprove of the morals that the tradition Creole woman believes in. Theresa greatly condemns divorce and terms it as being morally cowards. She feels that it is a selfish way to move out of life situations instead of sacrificing oneself as a man. Later on through her advice Hosmer is given a second chance by his former wife. Theresa exempts herself from selfish acts and portrays a woman with principles when she refuses to marry Hosmer.
Theresa is portrayed as strong and not predictable when she declines to marry Hosmer. It would be obvious that Theresa would agree to marry Hosmer since she had already lost a husband and was thought to be vulnerable. Instead, she doesn’t entertain the selfish act and ignore what her community and principles stood for. When her husband died, the neighbors had an unusual interest in a matter. It was very unusual for a young, childless window to solely enlarge of the four thousand hectares plantation. As time passed, the predictions and expectations came to fail. Theresa became even stronger in the way she handled her affairs and followed the methods of her husband. Of course, she felt lonely when her husband died and felt that without him she was empty. She spent many days greasing her loss fighting off the demoralized and aggressiveness of those looking for her demise. Capitalism being the center focus of Americans is portrayed here when all the aggressiveness and trick are meted on her. She stands by her strength without support and advice from anybody and takes charge of her future.
Theresa is portrayed as dynamic when she accepts that despite one’s belief. Her questions her advice to Hosmer to remarry Fannie when she meets her drunk. “Theresa was shocked that for a while she could say nothing” (115). She asks herself “with a shudder was I right- was I right?” (158). She accepts her errors and as a person of the church she questions her stands, and this transforms her. When Fannie dies, Theresa reviews her errors and decides to marry Hosmer. Love is portrayed as surrounding many people’s fates and decisions that they make in life. We Theresa takes Hosmer as her husband her life transforms into one with happiness, and these presents hope for the future of American families leaving in loneliness.
Theresa presents the American woman as caring and parenting when she takes care of Millicent during the last chapters of the book. This shows that no matter what life brings in life the American spirit still values family setting and care since it the basic foundation of a society and nation. She is caring and sees the young Millicent as needing her love and guidance so she can grow into a woman with moral values. As an American woman, she is portrayed as having business experience and entrepreneurship. When she dealt with Hosmer when he wanted leasehold of a piece of land, her prowess is well shown she articulately draws agreement papers (67). She can protect her property just like her husband and deal with the aggressiveness of the men who visit her with shady deals. When uncle Hiram presents a tender of sympathy, “Missus,” he said, “I ‘lowed ‘twar best to come to de house a tell you; fur Massa he alluz did say …” (6). Theresa feels confused by the offer but still can resist the temptation.
Chopin uses characters to assert the women’s roles in the American society. The traits she gives to Theresa are what she feels should be emulated by those who wish to stand for humanity of the American people
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