‘Regret’ by Kate Chopin

Chopin, Kate 1895

Regret by Kate Chopin, 1895

The magic trick:

Using a very streamlined structure; never giving the reader more information than necessary

Not my favorite Chopin story, but I love the old-school structure. So simple. So clean.

She introduces the protagonist, giving the reader only information – characteristics and setting – that is pertinent to the events of this story. Then she introduces a conflict for the protagonist. Commence story. Streamlined, elegant, like a classic, if fairly standard-issue, 19th-century building. And that’s quite a trick on Chopin’s part.

The selection:

MAMZELLE AURLIE possessed a good strong figure, ruddy cheeks, hair that was changing from brown to gray, and a determined eye. She wore a man’s hat about the farm, and an old blue army overcoat when it was cold, and sometimes top-boots.

Mamzelle Aurlie had never thought of marrying. She had never been in love. At the age of twenty she had received a proposal, which she had promptly declined, and at the age of fifty she had not yet lived to regret it.


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