Chopin, Kate. "The Locket".
Autumn. A small detachment of Confederate forces waits for orders on the slope of a hill. Edmond, called a French by his messmates, is asked about the locket he wears. He says that it is a charm which protects him from being hurt. In fact the locket was given him as the most precious property of his girlfriend when they parted. It contains the pictures of her parents. Suddenly there is noise, rush, and retreat. When a priest arrives at the field later, he finds only dead soldiers. He removes the locket of one of the dead soldiers and takes it with him.
Spring. Octavie is taken for a morning drive by Judge Pillier, her lover's father. She sadly contemplates the beautiful day, thinking the spring has no right to come in, when her lover is dead. They arrive at Pillier's house. He asks her whether she does not think that such a beautiful day should give them back their dead. Octavie feels like in a dream when Edmond makes his appearance and kisses her.
It is explained that the locket was not lost in the heat of the struggle, as Edmond thought, but stolen. Octavie shudders. Edmond says nothing but thinks of his messmate, the one who was in the shadow and did not ask him about the locket as the others did.
- a third person narrative, free access to the thoughts of Octavie, partially to the thoughts of Edmond
- dialogues of the soldiers are in colloquial English
- set at the front of the Civil War and in the community of French speaking settlers
- themes: the long-lasting impact of war on people's lives, the corrupting effects of the front, the suffering caused by war both to soldiers and to non-combatants
- Chopin is great in describing feelings, especially negative ones (fear, anger, jealousy, etc.)
- great in penetrating the minds of women, treats the subject with sensitivity and insight
- her stories are mainly concerned with women and targeted at women, but she rarely falls in too much sentimentalism or romanticism
- her stories keep a thought-provoking quality and not always find a happy ending
- her subtle style reminds somewhat of the later British short story writer Katherine Mansfield
AuthorChopin, Kate. (1851 - 1904).
Full Title"The Locket".
Chopin, Kate. "The Locket". In: Kate Chopin: Complete Novels and Stories. Ed. Sandra M. Gilbert. NY: Library of America, 2002.