Beyond the Bayou, by Kate Chopin, is about the prevailing of La Folle after a child is shot. La Folle is a “large, gaunt, black woman,” who witnesses a man being shot by people beyond the bayou at a young age and refuses to leave thenceforth (107). Her asylum becomes normalized and the master’s children visit regularly. Chéri, La Folle’s favorite child, is hunting when heard screaming in the woods to be found by La Folle, injured (107 – 108). Due to village events no one was near the bayou in order to help Chéri so La Folle carries the boy beyond the bayou to the master’s house (109). She never avoids the beyond again (111).

The story overcomes psychological fears with necessary action. The villagers and master’s children promote La Folle’s mental state, creating positive reinforcement for her isolation furthering the “morbid fanc[ies]” beyond the bayou (107). In dire circumstances she overcomes this fear and proves to herself and the reader that fear of the unknown can only retain itself if never proven otherwise. Chopin dictates that only in times of great need can you overcome your fears and enter the unknown. I disagree, as La Folle demonstrates in conclusion, “the beautiful world beyond the bayou” is there regardless of uncertainties and should not need to be forced but helped in community support (111). I would recommend this story in order to provide hope for the unknown or demonstrate how not to support someone with anxiety.


Chopin, Kate. “Beyond the Bayou.” Short Fiction, edited by Mark Levene and Rosemary Sullivan, Oxford University Press Canada, 2015, 107 - 111.