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Symbolism Effectively Used in "the Storm"

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"The Storm", by Kate Chopin, is a short story on sexuality written in 1898. The story presents an affair between a married man and a married woman, who had known each other in the past. At the beginning of the story, Bobinot, Calixta's husband, and Bibi, their son, are introduced as they are in a store waiting for a storm to pass. At the same time, Alcee, a friend of Calixta, rides up to the family's house to ask for shelter. During the storm, Calixta and Alcee have an affair filled with a high degree of passion that was absent from their respective marriages. Chopin fills the story with imagery. Symbolism is effectively used by Chopin to demonstrate the conditions before, during and after the affair between Calixta and Alcee.

In the beginning of the story, Chopin uses symbolism to effectively illustrate the conditions that lead up to the encounter between Calixta and Alcee. Dark clouds foreshadow that something bad is going to happen. "The leaves were so still that even Bibi thought it was going to rain. Bobinot, who was accustomed to converse on terms of perfect equality with his little son, called the child's attention to certain somber clouds that were rolling with sinister intention from the west, accompanied by a sullen, threatening roar" (Chopin 249). This waiting out of the storm suggests that Bobinot also avoids the stormy passion that his wife, Calixta, is clearly capable of. After this, Calixta is described performing household chores at their home, and she is unaware that the storm is coming. "She sat at a side window sewing furiously on a sewing machine. She was greatly occupied and did not notice the approaching storm. It begins to grow dark and suddenly realizing the situation she got up hurriedly and went about closing windows and doors" (Chopin 249). It begins to grow dark and she notices that the weather has grown oddly warm. This not only indicates the oncoming cyclone, but also symbolizes the affair that is going to take place between Calixta and Alcee. Secondly, Calixta's performing of household chores represents how she is following the social norm of being a devoted wife. "Out on the small front gallery she had hung Bobinot's Sunday clothes to dry and she hastened out to gather them before the rain fell" (Chopin 250). Lastly, the rain drops represent the growing passion between Calixta and Alcee. "She stood there with Bobinot's coat in her hands, and the big rain drops began to fall" (Chopin 250). "The falling of the rain drops signifies the true beginning of the storm, and it occurs significantly at the same moment that Alcee comes into the story. It is also mentions that they are "big rain drops." While the story could have merely stated that it began to rain, the indication of their size builds up to the intense climax that will occur between Calixta and Alcee in the midst of the storm" (Mohr). Therefore, Chopin uses nature and Calixta's housework to symbolize the conditions that lead up to the affair between Calixta and Alcee.

Furthermore, symbolism is used to demonstrate the passion and attitude of Chopin regarding the affair between Calixta and Alcee. During the storm, "Calixta nervously began to gather up from the floor the lengths of a cotton sheet which she had been sewing" (Chopin 250). By putting away the cotton sheet, she puts away a reminder that she is married and has a life with another man. She is opening up to the possibility of interaction between herself and Alcee. In addition, Chopin describes Calixta's lips as red and moist as pomegranate seed. Her passion begins to brew. She becomes electric and powerful, and a force driven by nature. The author compares Calixta's lips to pomegranate to illustrate how the lovers' feelings are natural and not morally wrong. "Chopin reinforces this idea through other imagery drawn from nature, likening Alcee to the sun and Calixta to a lily. Not only do these images come from nature, but they also derive from the biblical book, The Song of Songs, giving a kind of religious sanction to the lovers' union" (Rosenblum). Finally, when

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