In the short story “What Katie Did,” the author Sid Chaplin portrays a young lady who can not escape from her place in society. Once Katie finishes her education, her life revolves around making bricks all day, and then cooking dinner and cleaning boots during the night. She must do these same tasks everyday, and eventually she can’t take it anymore. She leaves home to start a new life. Katie moves in with her Aunt in the country and lives comfortably for a while. She then applies for a servant job at a mansion. She is accepted for the vacant position and he life seems to be improving. Katie is on her way out of the lower class until one day Katie has an outburst. She is forced to leave and return to her life of making bricks and cleaning boots at home.
Chaplin shows how Katie can’t get away from her place in society. She is part of a working class family that has almost no leeway to move up or down in society. Katie has basically no choices in her life; she either has to work all day at the brick factory or get married like her sisters have. Katie instead tries to be rebellious and break out of her role. She leaves home and tries to earn a better life for herself. Her seems to work for a while, but she can’t quite break from her working class heritage. Even though she was close to escaping, Chaplin tries to show us that her attempt is futile. No matter what Katie does, she can’t leave her lower, working class. Even when she is on the verge of making a new name for herself, she is shot down.
Chaplin also points out restrictions resulting from her gender. Because Katie is a female, she has no say in her profession. She is a brick maker; that is what a female from the lower class must become. If she could choose a different job, she would, but she can’t. Katie must also cook dinner and clean boots because she is a female. She detests doing this, but she has to because she is a woman. Being a female restricts her greatly because she can’t choose to do things that she enjoys. She must do what every other working class woman does. The responsibilities they receive do not allow them to become better individuals and accelerate in life. They are stuck in their place in society.
“What Katie Did” shows how class and gender create limitations for individuals. Being in the lower class allows very little room for improving one’s social and financial situation. Katie tries to leave the working class, but her attempt fails. It is just not possible for her to leave. Gender also plays a great role in life. Because Katie is a female, she is forced to take a certain profession and chores. She has no say in what she does. She may not like her job, but she can’t leave it. Gender and class play a great role in defining who a person is.