Mapping Miss McEnders’ Journey
Kate O’Donoghue, English
In the 1890s, Kate Chopin published prolifically because of the popularity of short fiction that featured exotic domestic settings. However, Chopin used the local color genre to interrogate changing class, labor, gender, and ethnic demographics in the postbellum period. For both research and pedagogical purposes, I am creating an interactive map that charts one of Kate Chopin’s short stories, “Miss McEnders.” By mapping the places in this story, and including historical, archival, and analytical information on each place, interesting and surprising hypotheses about the connections between history, politics, and fiction can be formed. As a teaching tool, an interactive map provides undergraduate students in introductory or survey courses a concrete example of the ways in which fiction and art are influenced by and engage with political, social, and historical events, especially those elements that do not get covered in comprehensive history textbooks. Eventually, I envision this map as containing several layers of geographical information, and including (or inviting the public or interested scholars to include) multiple writers.