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The Storm Essay


The Storm

The Storm is a short story by Kate Chopin, about the sexual relationship between two people, adultery and its effect on two families. The main character is Calixta, wife of Bobint, and mother of a four-year-old boy named Bibi. She has a romantic history with Alce, who is now married to Clarisse, the mother of his babies. The story is full of symbols, but the storm is one that is prevalent from beginning to end. The complete story evolves like a storm; it builds up and reaches a climax before it passes on calmly.

There is always a certain calm before the storm arrives. In the story this is described with the still leaves, which give Bibi a feeling that it is going to rain. The storm is approaching and Bobint points out to his son that the dark clouds are rolling with sinister intention from the west, accompanied by a sudden, threatening roar(99). Meanwhile, Calixta is at home and does not notice the nearing storm. She is working hard on her sewing machine, and even though she does not see the storm coming, she does feel very warm and sweaty. When the storm starts she goes outside to gather Bobints clothes, and Alce, who she has not seen for a while, rides in to ask if he can sit out the storm at her house. Calixta welcomes him inside and is surprised by the way she feels about being around him. The calm before the storm symbolizes the way Calixta feels in the beginning of the story. She is calm and relaxed and does not worry about her husband and son, because she does not see the approaching storm. That she feels warm and sweaty could be seen as if she unconsciously knows something is going to happen. The dark clouds symbolize the coming of Alce, whose intentions could be seen as dark and sinister when he approaches the house. The dark clouds also foreshadow that something bad is going to happen, in this case the short sudden affair between Calixta and Alce.

The storm is gaining power. First, big drops of rain come falling from the sky, then the wind picks up speed, and eventually there is thunder accompanied by seemingly endless striking lightning. Inside the house, the tension between Calixta and Alce is growing stronger. She cannot escape the feelings she has for him because the storm is keeping them together in the house. When the lightning strikes a tall tree near the house, Calixta falls into Alces arms. They no longer hold back and start making love until they reach their climax. Chopin uses the storm to foreshadow what will happen next by saying: The rain beat upon the low, shingled roof with a force and clatter that threatened to break an entrance and deluge them there(100). The rain that threatens to break an entrance could be seen as a symbol that Alce is a threat for the marriage of Calixta and Bobint. The unending lightning symbolizes the electricity and the tension between Calixta and Alce.

When the storm has reached its climax, the rain stops, the thunder and lightning fade away in the distance, and the sun appears. Calixta watches Alce ride away, and returns to her daily routine as if nothing happened. Bibi and Bobint return to the house and the three of them spend an evening filled with laughter and joy. Alce writes a loving letter to his wife Clarisse and everyone is happy. The sunshine after the rain symbolizes that what happened had a positive outcome on both families. Chopin emphasizes this by saying: So the storm passes and everyone was happy(103).

In this story Chopin portrays the storm and the affair as something positive, this is ironic because they are both usually seen as something negative. This story shows that adultery does not necessarily have to be a bad thing, and that it could have a positive effect on relationships and families.

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