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The Storm: Turbulence Essay



The Storm, by Kate Chopin, is filled with symbolism from beginning to end. Chopin plots a situation in which two people surrender to their physical desires. The main characters, Calixta and Alcee, find themselves thrust together by a sudden storm. This situation leads to a rekindling of the passionate feelings they had left behind them years ago when each had embarked on new lives down separate paths. As the storm begins to strengthen outside, the emotions buried long ago erupts anew between them, leading to a strong storm of passion that consumes the pair completely in the moment. Although their passion represents a threat to marital harmony, it also clears the way for a renewed commitment.

Chopin details the destruction caused by the storm and demonstrates how it forces Alcee inside Calixtas home. The story reads, He expressed an intention to remain outside, but it was soon apparent that he might as well have been out in the open: the water beat in upon the boards in driving sheets, and he went inside. At this point, Chopins design is to bring these two together as a couple; she uses the stormy setting to accomplish this feat. Soon after entering the house, Calixta, feeling the pressure of the situation, gets up to look outside the window. She avoids looking into Alcees eyes, perhaps in anticipation of where that may lead them. While Calixta is looking out the window, the pounding rain is driven by strong winds and emphasized by intense lightening; this signifies the confusion of Calixtas feelings for Alcee at that moment. When Alcee steadies Calixta close to him, she staggers slightly, retreats backward, and immediately asks where her son may be. This represents the turmoil of emotions Calixta is experiencing as her mind wars with her body.

The emotional and stormy turbulence depicted throughout The Storm is portrayed by the climaxing sexual desire felt by Calixta and Alcee, as represented in the dialogue between the two. Calixtas lips are described as red and moist as pomegranate seed. Calixta releases a generous abundance of her passion, which is like, a white flame which penetrated and found response in depths of his own sensuous nature that had never yet been reached. Chopin also uses the dramatic words, he possessed her to describe the act of adultery.

Once the storm subsides, Chopin describes an outside world as glistening green. Alcee rides off to his destination. Bobinot and Bibi return home to find Calixta in an unusually good mood. Alcee writes to his wife, Clarisse, encouraging her not to hurry back, but to stay a month longer if she wishes. Clarisse is described as being charmed upon receiving her husbands letter, yet relieved to forgo their intimate conjugal life for a while. However, the reader comes away with the idea the storm has now passed and everyone is happy. Calixtas turbulent experience appears accidental and innocent. The affair seems to refresh both marriages, supporting Chopins theme that sex, even outside of marriage, can be enjoyable to both lovers without any guilt or harm being done to others.

The Storm, by Kate Chopin, symbolizes the adulterous union of Calixta and Alcee, alluding to the raging storm of passion that overtakes the couple in the midst of the storm. However,

Calixta and Alcee are able to put their prior infatuations to rest and move forward in their renewed commitments. The presence of the storm is not merely coincidental; it is the catalyst that enables the affair. As the storm begins, climaxes, and ends, so does the affair of the story.

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