Faculty Publications & Research

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war, trauma, Chopin, combat, Civil War, PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder


English Language and Literature


“The Civil War,” writes Robert Penn Warren, “is, for the American imagination, the single greatest event of our history” (3). Indeed, it has been estimated that the American imagination has been inspired to the tune of some 60,000 historical books on the subject (Lafantasie). Kate Chopin, probably best known for The Awakening and short stories like “The Story of an Hour,” spent her adolescence in a divided and tumultuous St. Louis during the Civil War. Like the women in her family with whom she lived, including her mother, grandmother, and two aunts, young Kate was a southern sympathizer (Ewell 7). She even committed her own minor act of rebellion, earning the moniker of St. Louis’s “Littlest Rebel” by tearing down and hiding a Union flag that soldiers had run up her family’s flagpole in celebration of the fall of Vicksburg; Union troops stormed into the house in search of the culprit (Toth, Kate 28).



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