Criticizing (or Praising) the Author An author may never know if their creation will be popular, liked, or just plain forgotten, but they can rely on one simple fact, that no matter what eventually someone is going to read their book and criticize it in one way or another. There are many different ways to criticize a novel, but biographical criticism lets a person look at the author for answers. Biographical criticism acknowledges that novels, plays, ect, are written by human beings and that an authors background can help us to better understand why an author wrote something. Biographical criticism is important for many reasons ;one is that a writer's life may help to understand their literature. Also the reader may understand the elements the author uses in their work. The author's background often adds significance to the written work. Finally it helps the reader to understand the author's audience and intention for the novel. This approach is very useful in understanding what the author intended, however one must be careful not to make a mistake when taking this approach. One is to not assume that the author's life is necessarily the same as the novels. One must also be careful not to use questionable sources of information about the author's life. One must present only the relevant facts about an author's life. Also when you use these facts, you must intemperate them so that you can make the appropriate connection between the author's life and their writing. It is pretty hard to do biographical criticism without at least touching upon the historical criticism. Many times an author's life will be affected be the time frame in which they have lived. Many dramatic events can affect how an author's life will unfold, and how this event will impact them. World War II is only one example but there are many others. While looking at biographical criticism one must remember that the author may have been living in very different times, their life could have been filled with hardships and despair, and not everything could have been written just to be literature. What the author went through in their life will greatly affect what they are writing about and how the literature was written. However not every assessment of an authors literature will be correct, people tend to be wrong sometimes. I will attempt to intemperate Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour. The Story of an Hour is a short story written by Kate Chopin in 1984. The story begins with a heart-troubled wife receiving word that her husband died in a train wreck. The woman is at first devastated, and she retreats to the safety of her room to be alone. Soon, however the woman realizes that this is something more than she ever expected. Her husband may be dead but now she is no longer burdened to him, for the first time in her life she is truly free. The woman leaves the room and comes to the first floor. However at that instant the door opens and her husband walks through it. With a shriek she collapses to the floor dead. The doctors say she died from happiness, but the reader is left wondering otherwise. To understand why Kate wrote such an anti-male story we must first examine her life, and the society she lived in. Kate was born in 1851 and died in 1904. During her lifetime women were just starting to gain the equal rights that they desired. Kate was never even able to see women earn the right to vote, and the large women's movements were still many years after her death. Kate was born to a wealthy Irish immigrant, but her father died in 1855 when his train plunged into the Gasconade River. Kate never even remembered her father clearly. In 1863 Kate's older brother, George, was captured by Union forces and died from typhoid while in captivity. Kate had lost the two main male role models by the time she was 12. This however served to make Kate have a powerful female relationship with her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. As Kate grew up she was criticized for walking unaccompanied throughout the city and for her habit of smoking cigarettes (extremely unusual for women at this time). We now see Kate growing up as a very independent female. This background is a very solid foundation for Kate's strong story The Story of an Hour. We see a woman realizing her independence through the apparent death of her husband. Much as the same way that Kate's life as an independent woman was shaped by the death of her two strong male role models. There is however one piece of Kate's life not mentioned yet. Her husband. After a year-long courtship, Kate married Oscar Chopin on June 9, 1870. After a failed business, Kate and her husband moved to Northern Louisiana, where Oscar contracted swamp fever in 1882, and died in 1883. This is the key factor to Kate's short story. As an independent woman she went through the death of her father and brother at a very young age. Than later in her life she lost her husband. What the women in the novel were going through as she learned of her husband's death might well have been the emotions Kate went through with the death of her husband. She'd lived an independent life until marriage, and through her novel Kate was expressing her distaste for marriage, and the restraints that it puts on the wife. Kate went through the exact same emotions that her character in the story did. However Kate had one slight difference, she was already independent before marriage. The story may have also been Kate's way of reaching out to all of the married women out there. Kate lived a life filled with relative freedom, but many women did not. Through her short story Kate may have believed that she would be able to open the eyes of women out there that wanted to be free but felt trapped. Evidence for this comes from the fact that feminists championed her stories years after her death. Kate's life was set up for her to become an independent woman, and examination of her biography proves this fact. Not only was Kate a strong woman, but also she championed her cause in a time when women we not even considered close to the equal of men. This took bravery, but Kate had learned a long time ago what many women still need to find out, that being herself was important, not being chained down by society. Again and again her short story The Story of an Hour demonstrates that marriage may just be holding women back from the true freedom they need, they deserve.