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A Respectable Woman Commonlit Answers

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  • 8th Grade
  • Lexile: 930

Source: A Respectable Woman by Kate Chopin

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
PART A: Which of the following statements best identifies the theme of the text?Social expectations influence how people behave, but individuals choose how much they follow them.
PART B: Which detail from the text best supports the answer to Part A?“She wanted to draw close to him and whisper against his cheek – she did not care what – as she might have done if she had not been a respectable woman.” (Paragraph 23)
What can the reader infer about Mr. Baroda from his conversation with Mrs. Baroda in paragraphs 7-15?He cares about being considerate to his friend and believes that his wife is worried for no reason.
What is the effect of the author’s description of Mrs. Baroda’s dress in paragraph 17?It draws attention to Mrs. Baroda’s virtue and propriety.

What is the effect of the author choosing to conclude the story with Mrs. Baroda’s suggestion that Gouvernail visit?

The effect of the author concluding the story with Mrs. Baroda’s suggestion that Gouvernail visit again is multifaceted:

  1. Shows Character Growth: The conclusion demonstrates Mrs. Baroda’s personal growth and her ability to navigate and reconcile her feelings within the constraints of societal expectations. Initially, she is conflicted and uncomfortable with her attraction to Gouvernail, but by the end, she seems to have found a way to manage her feelings. This suggests a journey towards self-understanding and emotional maturity.
  2. Indicates Control Over Her Situation: By choosing to invite Gouvernail back, Mrs. Baroda asserts control over her situation and her emotions. This decision may imply that she has overcome the turmoil he initially caused in her, indicating she feels confident she can interact with him without compromising her sense of propriety or her marriage.
  3. Opens Interpretation on the Nature of Her Resolution: The ending leaves open what exactly Mrs. Baroda has overcome. It could be her attraction to Gouvernail, her fear of scandal, or simply her initial dislike of the idea of his visit. The ambiguity invites readers to consider the complexities of human emotions and relationships, and how individuals resolve internal conflicts in the face of societal pressures.
  4. Challenges Societal Norms Subtly: Mrs. Baroda’s action can be seen as a subtle challenge to societal norms. By overcoming her initial reservations and societal expectations about how a woman should feel and behave, and by deciding to have Gouvernail visit again, she exercises personal agency in a way that was not openly encouraged for women at the time the story was written.
  5. Reaffirms Her Marriage: The ending can also be interpreted as reaffirming her commitment to her husband and their marriage. By dealing with her feelings for Gouvernail in a manner that allows her to invite him back without any apparent reservation, Mrs. Baroda demonstrates her loyalty to her husband and the strength of their relationship.

In summary, the conclusion of the story with Mrs. Baroda’s suggestion that Gouvernail visit again serves to highlight her character development, her assertion of control, and the nuanced ways individuals navigate personal desires against the backdrop of social expectations.

Discussion Answers

Do you think Mrs. Baroda has overcome her feelings for Gouvernail? Why or why not?

The conclusion of Kate Chopin’s “A Respectable Woman” suggests a complex resolution to Mrs. Baroda’s feelings for Gouvernail. Whether she has truly overcome her feelings for him is open to interpretation, but several story elements provide insights into this question.

  1. Indication of Personal Growth: Mrs. Baroda’s decision to invite Gouvernail back suggests she believes she has resolved her internal conflict in some way. This could imply that she has overcome her feelings for him, or at least, she has learned to manage these feelings within the bounds of her marriage and societal expectations.
  2. Ambiguity in Resolution: Chopin does not explicitly state that Mrs. Baroda’s feelings have disappeared, only that she has “overcome everything.” This could mean she has overcome her attraction to him, or it could mean she has overcome the societal and personal barriers that prevented her from previously handling her feelings in a composed manner.
  3. Strength and Agency: The story ends on a note of strength and agency for Mrs. Baroda. She exercises control over her circumstances by choosing to have Gouvernail visit again. This could be seen as a sign that she no longer feels threatened by her feelings, indicating a form of overcoming them.
  4. Complexity of Human Emotions: Chopin often explores the complexity of human emotions and the societal norms that constrain individuals, particularly women. It’s possible that Mrs. Baroda’s feelings for Gouvernail have not completely vanished but have been understood and accepted as a part of her emotional landscape that she can navigate without jeopardizing her marriage or social standing.

In conclusion, while it’s plausible that Mrs. Baroda has overcome her feelings for Gouvernail in the sense that she has mastered them or reconciled them with her sense of self and duty, the story leaves open the possibility that her feelings have evolved rather than disappeared.

Chopin’s nuanced ending invites readers to reflect on the nature of attraction, the constraints of societal expectations, and the capacity for personal growth and self-governance within these confines.


In your opinion, do the Barodas have a good marriage? Why or why not?

The depiction of the Barodas’ marriage in Kate Chopin’s “A Respectable Woman” suggests a complex but fundamentally strong relationship. Several aspects of their marriage indicate it is a positive and respectful partnership:

  1. Communication and Respect: The Barodas seem to communicate openly and with respect. Mrs. Baroda feels comfortable enough to express her feelings and concerns to her husband, even if those concerns are about his friend. Mr. Baroda, for his part, listens to his wife and engages with her concerns, even if he does not fully understand them.
  2. Mutual Affection: There are clear indications of affection and tenderness between Mr. and Mrs. Baroda. For instance, Mr. Baroda takes his wife’s face in his hands and looks tenderly into her eyes, showing a moment of intimacy and connection.
  3. Personal Growth: The story concludes with Mrs. Baroda deciding to invite Gouvernail back, which her husband greets with surprise and delight. This decision can be seen as a reflection of her personal growth and her ability to manage her feelings in a way that benefits her marriage. It also suggests a level of trust and understanding between the couple, as she makes this decision with the expectation of her husband’s support.
  4. Handling of Conflicts: Though Mrs. Baroda experiences internal conflict regarding her feelings for Gouvernail, she ultimately chooses not to act on these feelings in a way that would harm her marriage. This indicates a commitment to her relationship with her husband that transcends temporary emotions.
  5. Space for Individuality: Both Mr. and Mrs. Baroda are portrayed as individuals with their own feelings and concerns. The story shows a marriage where both partners are allowed their individuality while still being part of a committed relationship. Mrs. Baroda’s journey through her feelings for Gouvernail and her ultimate decision to invite him back without jeopardizing her marriage underscores a relationship that accommodates personal growth and change.

However, the story leaves room for questioning the depth of their understanding of each other. Mrs. Baroda’s internal struggle is largely internal, and while she communicates with her husband, there’s a sense that he does not fully grasp the extent of her turmoil. This could suggest limitations in their communication or understanding.

In summary, based on the evidence provided in the story, the Barodas appear to have a good marriage characterized by communication, respect, affection, and the ability to navigate personal growth and challenges together.

However, like any marriage, it is not without its complexities and areas for deeper understanding.


In the context of the text, what drives a person to betray? Do you think Mrs. Baroda betrayed her husband in any way? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

Okay, so when we talk about what makes someone betray another person, I think it’s usually because they’re feeling something really strong that they don’t know how to deal with. Like, they might be super unhappy or wanting something they can’t have, and it messes with their head until they do something they shouldn’t.

In “A Respectable Woman” by Kate Chopin, Mrs. Baroda kinda faces a situation where she could betray her husband. She starts having feelings for Gouvernail, her husband’s friend, which is totally not okay because she’s married.

But, here’s the thing, even though she feels this way, she doesn’t act on it. She thinks about getting close to Gouvernail and even wants to touch him, but she never does. She decides to stay away from him instead of messing up her marriage.

That part where she wants to “draw close to him and whisper against his cheek” but doesn’t because she’s a respectable woman shows she knows the line between right and wrong.

From my own experience, I’ve seen friends get mad at each other for telling secrets or talking behind their backs, which is kinda like betrayal.

It usually happens because someone’s feeling left out or jealous. But they can fix their friendship if they talk about it and understand each other.

In other stories, like “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, betrayal is a big theme too. Amir betrays his friend Hassan, but he spends a lot of the book trying to make things right. It shows that people can mess up because of their weaknesses or fears, but what’s important is how they deal with it afterward.

So, did Mrs. Baroda betray her husband? I don’t think so. She had some weird feelings, sure, but she never acted on them. She stayed loyal and even talked about inviting Gouvernail back, showing she overcame her confusion.

It’s like, having feelings or thoughts isn’t the betrayal part; it’s what you do about them that counts. Mrs. Baroda kept her actions respectful and stayed true to her marriage, which is pretty brave and cool of her.


In the context of the text, how do we define the roles of men and women? What characteristics does Mrs. Baroda associate with being a woman? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

In “A Respectable Woman” by Kate Chopin, the roles of men and women are pretty traditional, which means that men do their work and women take care of the home and social stuff. Mrs. Baroda is a good example of what people back then thought a woman should be like – respectful, well-mannered, and always thinking about her reputation and her husband’s comfort.

Mrs. Baroda shows what she thinks being a woman is all about when she decides not to hang out with Gouvernail even though she kinda wants to. She thinks, “She wanted to draw close to him and whisper against his cheek – she did not care what – as she might have done if she had not been a respectable woman.”

This shows she’s really worried about staying proper and not doing anything that could make people think less of her or her husband.

From what I’ve seen, like in movies and stuff, women are often shown as the ones who keep everything running smoothly at home, kinda like Mrs. Baroda. But nowadays, people are more about breaking those old rules and letting everyone do what they’re good at, whether they’re a guy or a girl.

In other books, like “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, the March sisters each show different paths women can take, which was a big deal back when it was written. Jo March, for example, breaks the mold by wanting to be a writer and not just get married off.

Historically, women’s roles have been super limited, but over time, with movements for women’s rights and stuff, those roles have started to change. Women can be leaders, scientists, artists – anything, really.

So, Mrs. Baroda’s idea of being a woman is all about being proper and making sure her husband’s happy and comfortable. Still, it’s cool to see how much those ideas have changed when you look at stories from different times or even what’s happening in the world right now.


In the context of the text, how does love emerge? Why is Mrs. Baroda attracted to Gouvernail, and how do these feelings develop? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

In “A Respectable Woman” by Kate Chopin, love and attraction kind of sneak up on Mrs. Baroda. At first, she’s not even looking forward to meeting Gouvernail because she’s heard a lot about him but imagines him to be totally not her type.

But when she meets him, she’s surprised because he’s not what she expected. The text says, “And she rather liked him when he first presented himself.”

Mrs. Baroda’s attraction to Gouvernail seems to grow because he’s so different from what she thought he’d be. He’s quiet and not super social, which makes her curious. Plus, he’s polite and just hangs out, listening to her husband talk about sugar planting or chilling with the dogs. It’s like she finds his calm vibe and the mystery around him interesting because it’s so not like the busy social life she’s used to.

From what I’ve seen, sometimes people get attracted to others because they’re different or new. It’s like when someone new comes to class, and everyone’s curious about them because they’re a mystery.

In other stories, like “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy also kind of sneak up on each other with their feelings. They start off not liking each other much because they misunderstand each other. But as they get to know the real person behind those first impressions, they start to fall for each other.

Historically, many love stories are about people finding attraction in unexpected places or with unexpected people. It shows that love isn’t always straightforward and can come from getting to know someone on a deeper level.

For Mrs. Baroda, her feelings develop because Gouvernail is so chill and different. She’s used to being the hostess and ensuring everyone’s having a good time, but Gouvernail doesn’t demand any of that.

He’s low-maintenance and just happy to be. This difference from what she’s used to makes her interested and drawn to him, even though it also confuses her because she’s married and supposed to be “respectable.”

So, in the story, love or attraction emerges from curiosity, difference, and maybe the excitement of feeling something you’re not supposed to feel. It’s like Mrs. Baroda is learning something new about herself through her feelings for Gouvernail.

Other Comonlit Answers

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