‘The Night Came Slowly’ by Kate Chopin: Short Story Analysis
‘The Night Came Slowly’ is a surreal, almost metaphorical, and partly religious short story or scrap penned by American writer Kate Chopin in 1894. In this short story, Kate shows her subjective love for Nature, who is unbiased and never speaks a lie. Books and Men are mostly biased and not true at the core. Chopin, an early American feminist, declares in this scrap that she neither wants nor thirsts for men or books. She gives the example of the Night that she loves, showing her fondness for the darker side of life. This indicates that she sees the world through her own feminine eyes and not men’s eyes. If she must see the world entirely through the eyes of a feminist, then she must do away with men altogether, which is taking the idea too far.
On the other hand, getting rid of most books penned since Kate Chopin’s time would be understandable because books were colored with men’s opinions. Very rarely have women been shown as having shaped history or events of their exploits recorded in books that have come down through the ages. Therefore, in this scrap titled ‘The Night Came Slowly’, the American writer Kate Chopin draws a line against men and, as I would put it, ‘their’ books. She prefers Nature to them and seems to personify the ‘Night’ here as if it were a wooing human or a heavenly spirit looking down upon her and making her not suffer.
‘The Night Came Slowly’ is short, but it is drowning in symbolism and mixed with Kate Chopin’s very broadminded views about the Christian faith, which makes the scrap a very challenging read. Two things make Kate Chopin a Catholic feminist suffer; men and books. In men, she finds no solace because they have never truly looked at anything beyond their own old ways, which frankly is outdated. She does not find solace in books because they are penned by the same men who have burdened her generation and ours with stereotypes and prejudices and other negative narrowminded aspects about everything that exists. Books and Men make Kate Chopin suffer. Nature is different. Nature is truthful, and from time immemorial is known as the female aspect of creation. God is usually regarded as a thought or spirit that infuses life into Nature, the mother deity. Without Nature to showcase God’s divinity and majesty, humankind can never comprehend God. Kate Chopin considers Nature to be the true Church of Christ rather than a paper and cloth Bible or a church. It is commendable for her time and situation to have written this because looking after Nature and restoration of Nature were not treated as necessary. Her idea of calling the dark night ‘soothing’ and ‘penetrating’ like a lover full of ‘mystery’ and who is ‘solemn’ indicates that she feels the presence of a Divine God more in Nature than in humans and their books.
The Night soothes Chopin like a lover and penetrates her soul as it were a sexual penetration. She says her whole being is permeated in it. She has at long last found a true lover in something that had been around so long, yet foolish men cannot see its reality: the wonders of Nature. Instead, men go against Nature by destroying her works. Men even write books about trying to find the so-called truth when the real truth is all around them, Nature, the very seat of all that is good and the only heaven we know. Nature is solemn and mysterious because it is more than just mere words in a Holy Book, mostly penned by men if not always. I disagree with Kate Chopin a bit here because I am very devoted to words and God’s Word, which is present in the Holy Bible. I worship the true Word of God and have always found solace in the written word. I love Nature too, but I don’t hate the written word. I really am incapable of doing that. But I do understand her logic about the male factor, so yes, in her subjective analysis, her verdict on this point is also plausible. Those who want to read more on how to read the Bible can check my blog post ‘Tips on How to Read the Bible from Start to Finish’ here. Those interested in God as ‘Thought’ and Nature as ‘Mother’ symbolism can check out the Gnostic book The Secret History of the Gnostics by Andrew Phillip Smith. You can read my book review here.
Kate Chopin shows how, like a mischievous little lover, the Night flits from one area to another as it comes down to make her feel extraordinary and self-actualized. She loves the simple cricket called the Katydids that begin their slumber song for her to sleep. There is a lot of depth and meaning in Kate Chopin’s use of Katydids crickets. First of all, Katydids are a large, typically green, bush cricket native to North America. The male makes a characteristic sound that resembles the name.
Interestingly, Katydids are slightly related to Native American folklore and legend and represent insects as meek and humble. We do know that the Native American religion was a kind of Naturism. It was overthrown by the Christian settlers in the New World that became America. Is Kate Chopin trying to hint that Native American Naturism is more related to God’s true religion and the way he wants to be worshiped?
Kate Chopin mentions that the Katydids, meek and humble insects as they are, are still closer to the Divine than people who boast that they are supposedly full of wisdom. Such people chatter, and by their chattering, one realizes how hollow their arguments are. Kate Chopin prefers the repeated sounds of the Katydids more loyal to the eternal being than the lies and pretenses of so-called wise people. She speaks of Jesus Christ and how a man had come to talk to her about the Holy Bible whom she loathed. She loathed him for the following reasons:
- He was too bold to be a preacher.
- He was coarse in behavior and speech.
- He was a young fool.
- He was a man.
These four points add up to Kate Chopin, making her final statement in the scrap titled ‘The Night Came Slowly’. She had rather have the stars tell her about Christ because they were the only people in her life who had seen Christ. The Bible preacher was born to die in an ignorant belief that God can be contained in the four corners of a book or in a church. The scrap ends by pointing the readers to concentrate on the essence of life and understand that we have to protect Nature that awes us all the time. Preserving Nature should be a religion where the woods are a church and the deity not painted rock but the sky’s heavenly orbs. This is Kate Chopin’s short but profound message to the world. The Christian world always seems to contain Nature and has passed that disease to even countries like mine.
I enjoyed reading and analyzing this short story or scrap penned by American writer Kate Chopin. I hope to read, review, and analyze more American literary fiction and non-fiction till the end of January 2021. I am celebrating the rich bookish heritage of America. If you are interested in buying a Christian fantasy novel for your children, you can check out my book titled Someone Is Burning My Lord: Kumbaaya here. I hope to read and analyze more works by Kate Chopin soon.
If you are interested in book reviews, book analysis, short-story analysis, poems, essays, essay analysis, and other bookish content, you can check out my blog insaneowl.com. If you are interested in purchasing my books, you can check out my blog’s products page or my author’s page on Amazon. There is a lot of good stuff to buy! Happy reading to you always!
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