From The Writers Almanac:
It's the birthday of Kate Chopin, born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1850. She came from a wealthy family her father was a successful businessman and her mother was a beautiful socialite from one of the city's oldest Creole families. Kate was a Southern belle, a devoted wife, and the mother of six children. But then her husband died, and soon after that her mother died. Chopin was depressed. Her family doctor thought she was a very good letter-writer, so he encouraged her to try writing fiction as a way to stay occupied. Over the next 15 years, Kate Chopin wrote almost 100 short stories and sketches, and two novels, At Fault (1890) and The Awakening (1899). The Awakening is the story of Edna Pontellier, who gives up her roles as wife and mother, has an affair, and eventually walks into the sea, perhaps committing suicide. And when it was published, Kate Chopin was censored and criticized. But now she is considered an important early feminist author, and The Awakening is considered a classic of American fiction.