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Analysis of "the Storm" - a Kate Chopin's Short Story

Essay by   •  August 21, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,019 Words (5 Pages)  •  4,071 Views

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Analysis of "The Storm"

In Kate Chopin's short story "The Storm", there are two main characters in which the story mostly revolves around, Calixta the desperate wife and Alcee her passionate lover, the two originally met several years before the story takes place, but each made a more suitable marriage to someone else and until this day they had not seen each other since their previous fling. Once Calixta and Alcee meet again they begin to relive that time in their life when the passion was at its climax. This is what the story is about at the surface, however underneath the surface, there is a deeper and a larger meaning. "The Storm" helps to define the sexual standards and restraints of the late nineteenth century while also making a statement about humans' natural tendency towards sexual passion.

Chopin uses the title "The Storm" to illustrate this sexual restraint of this time period. When thought of in literary terms, a storm tends to be associated with conflict, uneasiness, and confusion. Chopin uses the image of the storm to represent the sexual tension that builds throughout the story between Alcee and Calixta. The storm not only represents the sexual tension, but is also refers to nature which is associated with feminism, therefore you can see the storm as a symbol of feminine sexuality and passion. The image of the storm returns multiple times throughout the story to illustrate this point.

Chopin's illustration of the storm not only represents the sexual passion between Calixta and Alcee, but also her sexual relationship (or lack thereof) with her husband Bobinot. In the beginning of the story Bobinot decides to wait out the storm at the general store with their son, Bibi. This waiting out or avoidance of the storm is a metaphor for Bobinot's avoidance of the stormy passions that his wife is clearly capable of. It is not until after Bobinots decision to stay at the general store is the reader then introduced to Calixta. The reader meets Calixta while she is sewing and doing other household chores, seemingly unaware that the storm is coming. This illustration of her sewing and doing house chore is a representation of her repressed sexuality by the constraints of her marriage and society's view of women during that time period. Chopin also lets the reader know that Calixta is airing her husband's Sunday clothes, which alludes to society in the form of the church. The story continues with other illustrations using the storm until, finally, after Alcee and Calixta's sexual encounter, the storm finally begins to pass, letting the reader know that not only the actual outside world but her life now seems renewed, fresh, and everything will be ok.

Chopin uses many of Calixta's actions in "The Storm" to represent the sexual restraint of the time. As alluded to earlier, Calixta doing housework by herself is perhaps one of the best examples of this. Up until Alcee arrives at the house, Calixta is working with much vigor and frustration; this is to show the reader her sexual



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