By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University) ‘The Kiss’ is a short story by the American writer Kate Chopin (1850-1904), written in a single day (19 September 1894) and published in Vogue magazine the following June. (Chopin was paid just $10 for the story.) ‘The Kiss’ is about a woman who is passionately attracted to one man but who wishes to marry another, who is a millionaire; one day, the man she loves kisses her in full view of the wealthy man she wants to marry. You can read ‘The Kiss’ here before reading on to our summary and analysis of Chopin’s story below. The story takes around 4-5 minutes to read. ‘The Kiss’: plot summary A man, Brantain, sits by the fire with Nathalie, an attractive woman, who is stroking a cat in her lap. They are making small talk rather than addressing what is really on their minds. The third-person narrator of the story tells us that Nathalie is aware of Brantain’s love for her, and how eagerly he has sought her attention. He is not attractive, but he is ‘enormously rich’, so Nathalie is considering marrying him for his money. However, as they are making idle chitchat, the door to the room opens and a man comes in, strides over to where Nathalie is sitting, and bends down to kiss her before she knows what’s happening. Brantain is surprised by this, because he thought Nathalie was interested in him, so he makes his excuses and leaves, clearly embarrassed and offended by what has happened. Once Brantain has gone, Nathalie chastises the man who had kissed her. His name is Harvy and it is clear that he is the man who really has her heart, but she wants to marry Brantain because he is wealthy while Harvy isn’t. Harvy tells her that he came into the house with Nathalie’s brother, and that was how he was able to barge into the room like that. At the next social engagement, Nathalie approaches Brantain to try to smooth things over and explain. She tells him that she and Harvy are […]
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