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Social and cultural influences

Paper instructions:

The final project should show evidence of careful and thoughtful development of the subject with attention
to appropriate depth and detail. The project should be clear, coherent, and well organized. It should be

free of errors that hinder meaning and free of plagiarized material.

Course Project Description

3For your project, you should choose a character from the novel you have read. Explain what makes that
character uniquely American. Please feel free to think outside the box. There are characters within these
novels that may not be legally or technically American but are tremendous examples of the American
spirit. This gives you a lot of opportunity to really explore a character that interests you.You will need to
incorporate many aspects of the novel to prove your case. Be sure to look at issues such as imagery,

dialect, social and cultural influences, and point of view, among others.

Submission Instructions:

Your essays should be in MLA Style and approximately 5-6 pages, not including the Work(s) Cited page.
As with most academic writing, this essay should be written in third person. Please avoid both first person
(I, we, our, etc.) and second person (you, your). In the upper left-hand corner of the paper, place your
name, the professor�s name, the course name, and the due date for the assignment on consecutive
lines. Double space your information from your name onward, and don�t forget a title. All papers should
be in Times New Roman font with 12-point type with one-inch margins all the way around your paper. All
paragraph indentations should be indented five spaces (use the tab key) from the left margin. All work is
to be left justified. When quoting lines in literature, please research the proper way to cite short stories,
plays, or poems.You should use the online APUS library to look for scholarly sources. Be careful that you

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don�t create a �cut and paste� paper of information from your various sources. Your ideas are to be

new and freshly constructed. Also, take great care not to plagiarize.

What Makes Therese from At Fault Uniquely American

By taking a look at Kate Chopin’s novel At Fault, the reader is tempted to ask what the
American spirit is. Despite the existence of several differences in the manner in which
individuals speak or look, these people happen to share characteristics and traits that represent
the aspect of Americanism in a perfect way. In the novel “At Fault” by Kate Chopin, there exist
several great examples of characters or individuals who exhibit the spirit of American. By taking
a look beyond the main lot and surface, Theresa Lafirme happens to be among the characters
who display the American spirit in Chopin’s novel. In this novel, Theresa symbolizes and
portrays what the American spirit encompasses. Besides, this character plays a vital role in
revealing what the American spirit has transformed her into despite of her descent, which is
Creole. Theresa displays a unique sense or aspect of women’s independence and
entrepreneurship. Moreover, this character demonstrates a rare aspect of motivation to excel and
the liberty to express her emotion and love. In the subsequent paragraphs, the American spirit of
Theresa will be elaborated via literary elements, which are present throughout Chopin’s novel
such as motivation, setting, and protagonist. In the 19 th century, the way of life of Americans in
the South cannot be elaborated better than by focusing on the setting surrounding the life of
Theresa Lafirme (Russell 11).
The setting occurs during the post-reconstruction America in the late 19 th century in
Northwestern Louisiana that is featured as the old South. Theresa is shown to live on Place-du-

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Bois that is located beside Cane River, which nears the Natchitoches town. This town is located
between Texas and Louisiana. The subsequent involves an excerpt from the novel that elaborates
the old southern landscape’s setting with combination of modernization. This idea is evident in
Chopin’s statement:
“These hills extended in a long line of gradual descent far back to the wooded borders of
lac du Bois; and within the circuit which they formed on the one side, and the irregular
half circle of a sluggish bayou on the other, lay the cultivated open ground of the
plantation-rich in its exhaustless powers of reproduction,” (2).
In this novel, Theresa is seen to portray unique sense of independence. This character
demonstrates a high level of liberty in terms of thinking. Chopin argues that Theresa had an
independence of thought, which was exceptional when viewed from the perspective of her life
alongside its surrounding conditions. This form of thinking is perfect reflection of the true
American spirit as it allows an individual to make decisions that are based on personal views as
opposed to ideas of others. Theresa’s independence of mind or through was evident in her
reactions to life issues such as divorce. For instance, Chopin claims that Theresa could refuse to
answer any question about divorces as it was beyond her level (Chopin 32). This statement
provides a clear revelation that Theresa’s opinions were not meant to please any one as she spoke
what she felt was right. In relation to this, Theresa portrays the American spirit, which is vital for
one’s survival. Moreover, the aspect of Theresa’s independence is revealed in the author’s
statement that Theresa perceived divorce as a blessing. This statement happens to contradict the
thinking of many women who fear the issue of divorce. In several occasions, most of the
divorced women always think of it as the end of their happy lives. On the other hand, Theresa
happens to view divorce an opportunity for the woman to better her life. Therefore, the social
and cultural influences seem to have not affected the thinking of Theresa. Besides, Theresa is
depicted to be independent from social influence in the scene where she talks to Homer about

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catholic religion. In this scene, Theresa made it clear to Homer that religion did not influence her
reasoning on being married to him (Russell 18). As a character with the American spirit, Theresa
believes that a woman can make it in life despite being divorced from her husband. As such, this
character reflects the American spirit, which is based on independence. Besides, it is striking to
note that Theresa has developed this independence despite living in a harsh condition.
Theresa demonstrates the American Spirit by exhibiting the freedom to express her
emotions and love. Despite being a woman who is strict in her views and principles, Theresa
manages to display her other side, which is characterized by emotions and love. In chapter 1.7 of
the novel, Theresa’s ability to express emotion and love is shown when she communicates to Mr.
Homer about his past marriage life. At the start of their conversation, Theresa is seen to be strict
and unable to listen to Mr. Homer’s opinion about marrying her. Theresa’s harshness was caused
by her realization that Mr. Homer was divorced and eve condemned Mr. Homer’s action as
cowardly. By challenging the actions of Mr. Homer, Theresa desires to ensure the absolute
necessity of Mr. Homer’s divorce to his wife. However, as the two continued to talk, Theresa
opened up to the discussion and even asked Mr. Homer to tell about his past. Her ability to
express love and emotions is shown when she tells Mr. Homer that she could not judge him for
telling her about his past marriage life (Chopin 43). Besides, Theresa’s caring nature is shown
when pleads with Mr. Homer to correct his mistake by re-marrying his wife and attempting to
reform her mistakes. In relation to this, most of Theresa’s reaction to Mr. Homer can be taken as
her comprehension of what it could imply for their positions to be interchanged or reversed.
Towards the end of their conversation Theresa is seen to fall in love with Mr. Homer. This
observation also signifies irony as the readers does not expect Theresa to fall in love with Mr.
Homer in relation to her reaction at the start of their conversation.

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As a character with the American spirit, Theresa possesses a robust sense of motivation
to excel in life. In the novel, Chopin proves this statement by claiming that Theresa had not
attained the age of thirty-five without realizing the life presents several hindrances, which should
be embraced whether with the heartlessness or of philosophy, the dignity of self-respect or the
revolt of weakness. In relation to this, Theresa is revealed as a character that is prepared to face
the challenges of life in many ways. This is the American spirit which is vital for one’s survival
life. Theresa represents the American spirit, which is ready to face the hurdles of life as they
come and emerge successful. Theresa’s willingness to overcome her life’s challenges is shown
when she turns down Mr. Homer’s marriage proposal to her (Russell 13). She does this
regardless of what might befall her as she is prepared to handle the outcomes of her actions. As
such, Theresa demonstrates the American spirit of standing for what is right regardless of the
outcomes of such a stand. It is ironical to see Theresa rejecting the marriage proposal of a person
of Mr. Homer’s state. In the real sense, the reader expects Theresa to seize this opportunity and
use it as means of excelling in life. However, Theresa fails to seize this chance and hopes to face
life the hard way via her struggle. Chopin manages to reveal this by incorporating the aspect of
imagery in that Theresa could not accept Mr. Homer’s proposal even at the price of happiness.
Therefore, Theresa has an inborn motivation that an individual can excel in life without
depending on other people. As such, this character succeeds in displaying the American spirit,
which makes her uniquely American. Besides, Theresa manages to demonstrate the American
spirit by being a successful entrepreneur (Russell 16). She succeeds in managing the plantation
that she acquired from her husband.
In conclusion, in Kate Chopin’s novel “At Fault”, Theresa Lafirme acts as perfect
representation of the unique American spirit. As one of the main characters in the novel, she

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manages to display the American spirit by being independent in her thoughts and actions,
expressing her love and emotions freely, and demonstrating a high sense of motivation to excel
in life despite facing several challenges. These aspects make this character uniquely American in
the novel.

Works Cited

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Chopin, Kate. At Fault. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 2007. Print.
Russell, David. “A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin’s “At Fault’.” Southern Quarterly
46(2008): 8-25. Print.

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