A Respectable Woman - Kate Chopin - Exercises - Class 12

Understanding the text

Answer the following questions

a. Why was Mrs. Baroda unhappy with the information about Gouvernail's visit to their farm?

Ans: Mrs. Baroda was unhappy with the information about Gouvernail's visit to their farm because she had planned to take unbroken rest and converse privately with her husband Mr. Gaston Baroda after their joyous winter as well as mild separation during their stay in New Orleans.

b. How was Gouvernail different from Mrs. Baroda's expectation? 

Ans: Mrs. Baroda had never met Gouvernail in her life before due to various reasons. She had learned various things about him through her husband. Before meeting him, she pictured him unconsciously as slim, tall, cynical with eyeglasses and hands into his pockets. She didn't like him while picturing him. But, when she met him, she found him different from her expectation. She found him slim, neither tall nor cynical. At the very first sight, she herself attracted to him. But Gouvernail's personality puzzled her later on. She found him different from other guests as well as less friendly which made her feel tired. Gouvernail never attempted to impress her nor responded to her acts.

c. How does Mrs. Baroda compare Gouvernail with her husband?

Ans: Mrs. Baroda compares Gouvernail with her husband in the following manner:

  • Mrs. Baroda finds her husband as a social, frank and friendly guy whereas Gouvernail as a guy of reserved nature.
  • Her husband seems a man with words whereas Gouvernail seems less talkative.
  • She finds a lack of brilliancy and positive traits within Gouvernail than her husband.
  • Gouvernail seems much simple and courteous than her husband's frank hospitality.
  • Gouvernail doesn't seem interested in fishing and hunting whereas her husband is.

d. Why and how did Mrs. Baroda try to change Gouvernail's solitary habits? 

Ans: Mrs. Baroda became quite tired to find her guest uninterested. She didn't even find any reaction within him when she showed her rude manner of leaving him alone with her husband at first. She tried to change Gouvernail's solitary habits because she wanted him to be more demanding and interesting. For that, she started accompanying him in his idle walks up to the mills and along the batture (an alluvial land by a riverside, especially in low land areas). 

e. How does Gaston disagree with his wife on Gouvernail's character?

Ans: Gaston disagrees with his wife on Gouvernail's character saying that Gouvernail doesn't expect commotion over his presence. According to him, Gouvernail needs a break from his busy life which is full of works. Against his wife's opinions, he supports Gouvernail's character saying that he has all the positive traits like friendliness, frankness, talkativeness and social nature.

f. Why is Gaston surprised with his wife's expression towards the end of the story?

Ans: Gaston is surprised by his wife's expression towards the end of the story because his wife's expression was quite puzzling enough for him to understand. She states that she has overcome everything and she will be nice to him on his next visit. Her strange statement in delighting tone makes Gaston feel surprised.

Reference to the context

a. What is the cause of conflict in Mrs. Baroda's mind? What role does Mrs. Baroda "being a respectable woman" play in the story?

Ans: The cause of conflict in Mrs. Baroda's mind is her attraction towards her husband's friend Gouvernail. She finds herself attracted to him at very first sight. She is puzzled in her act of liking a person like Gouvernail. Mrs. Baroda 'being a respectable woman' plays a very vital role to control her desires and prevent her from doing immoral acts. Her self dignity of being a respectable woman and wife makes her aware of her social reputation and even the limitations of social norms and values.

b. Sketch the character of Gouvernail and contrast it with Gaston.

Ans: Gouvernail is one of the major characters of this short story "A Respectable Woman" by Kate Chopin. He has played the role of a visitor who has come to spend his one or two weeks in Mr. Gatson Baroda's sugar plantation in Louisiana. He is a friend of Mr. Gaston during their school time. He is a slim guy with average height. He has visited Barodas' plantation to spend his time and take a rest from his tiresome busy life. He presents himself quite simply and in a courteous manner in response to Baroda's welcome and hospitality. He spends his time on the plantation in a very quiet reserved manner. He doesn't pay much attention to Mrs. Baroda. He likes to live a peaceful life without any disturbance. He is not interested in fishing and hunting. Mrs. Baroda doesn't find him interesting. For her, he doesn't seem clever, brilliant or a man of ideas as described by her husband Mr. Gaston earlier. Gouvernail has been accompanied by her to change him. Gouvernail is seen breaking his silence at the end of the story while sitting on a bench just beside her. He remains in Baroda's house as a simple guest and his reserved nature creates a bit of tension between Mr. Gaston and Mrs. Baroda.

On the other hand, Mr. Gatson Baroda seems quite sociable, frank and friendly. He is a quite caring husband. He loves and trusts his wife so much. He addresses his wife Mrs. Baroda using lovely names as 'chereamie' and 'ma belle'. He is a wealthy sugar planter and often has positive thinking. He doesn't feel good to hear his wife disliking opinions about Gouvernail. He tries his best to persuade his wife about Gouvernail. He is a brilliant man with a hobby of fishing and hunting. He nicely treats his guests and provides them good hospitality. Thus, both Mr. Gaston and Gouvernail are seen quite different in the story.

c. Why does Mrs. Baroda not disclose her feelings towards Gouvernail to her husband?

 Ans: Mrs. Baroda doesn't disclose her feelings towards Gouvernail to her husband because she wants to handle the situation herself by being sensible. She feels much disturbed and puzzled due to Gouvernail's reserved nature. She is troubled by her inner conflict. She wants to reveal her great folly of last night to her husband at first. But later on, she desires to tackle her problem herself. As a respectable woman or a wife, she thinks that being human, some battles of life should be handled alone.

d. The last three sentences of the story bring a kind of twist. After reading these three sentences, how do you analyze Mrs. Baroda's attitude towards Gouvernail?

Ans: Kate Chopin's writings always direct her readers towards brilliant and ambiguous closings. She often created twists in her creations at last. The last three sentences of Mrs. Baroda create a kind of confusion for all the readers. After reading her statements, I think she will treat Gouvernail more nicely the next time but being a respectable woman or a wife. She will surely overcome the folly of her first experience. She will present herself as a perfect host without expecting such desires as before.

Also Read - A Respectable Woman - Kate Chopin - Summary - Class 12