Personal BackgroundKate Chopin was born Catherine O'Flaherty in St. Louis on February 8, 1850. Her mother, Eliza Faris, came from an old French family that lived outside of St. Louis. Her father, Thomas, was a highly successful Irish-born businessman; he died when Kate was five years old. Chopin grew up in a household dominated by women: her mother, great-grandmother, and the female slaves her mother owned, who took care of the children. Young Chopin spent a lot of time in the attic reading such masters as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and the Brontës. Her great-grandmother taught her to speak French and play piano, and related stories about her great-great-grandmother, a woman who ran her own business, was separated from her husband, and had children while unmarried. This
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Oscar Chopin, Background Kate Chopin, children. Young Chopin