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The Storm Essay


The Storm

Are all women necessarily happy in their marriage? Do they believe their husband is really the only man for them? In Kate Chopins The Storm, Chopin is implying that marriage is not necessarily happiness and pleasure for all women. It also shows a womans natural sexual tendency and sexual restraints of Kate Chopins time period. Some women need something more than just their husband to cause happiness and excitement in their lives. In The Storm written by Kate Chopin, Calixta (the wife) and Alcee (the former lover) reunite because of the storm that has occurred and the two make love, which results in adultery.

The title The Storm foreshadows that something bad is going to happen in the story. When thought of in literary terms, the symbol of a storm is associated with something bad or something involving conflict. Critic Robert Wilson insists that "Chopins title refers to nature, which is symbolically feminine; the storm can therefore be seen as symbolic of feminine sexuality and passion, and the image of the storm will be returned to again and again throughout the story" (1).

Chopin also uses the illustration of the storm with Calixtas husband, Bobinot. When the storm is approaching, Bobinot decides to stay in the store with his son Bibi to avoid the storm. This implies that Bobinot avoids the stormy passions his wife is capable of. The story continues with other suggestions that the storm is going to be bad until Calixta and Alcee are done having sex. When they finish with their sexual encounters, the storm ends and the world seem to be fresh and new.

Chopin also uses examples to represent the sexual control of that time. Until Alcee arrives, Calixta is doing house - work with anger and frustration. Calixta has clothes hanging outside to dry and when Alcee arrives, they are endanger of blowing away from the strong winds of the storm that is coming. Sharon Hall states, "Alcee grabs Bobinots pants, symbolically subverting the social and marital constraints that control Calixta" (Hall 152).

As the storm becomes more near, Alcee and Calixta are making it more obvious that they have some sexual tension between one another. Calixta begins to gather up a cotton sheet that she has been sewing, in effect putting away a symbol of societys constraints. She is becoming as unsettled as the elements outside, the passion of the storm echoing her inner emotions (Wilson 3). Calixta putting the cotton sheet away is implying she is putting away the reminder that she is married and has a life with another man. By putting away the cotton sheet, Calixta has nothing that lies between her and Alcee now. Her attention is only on him.

After Alcees and Calixtas sexual encounter, the storm ends. Instead of feeling guilty about their actions, they feel happy, refreshed and renewed. Wilson states, "As Alcee leaves, he turns and smiles, and Calixta laughs out loud; her passion is seen to be natural, experienced without guilt or shame" (4). Calixta receives happiness from the sexual encounter with Alcee that she does not receive from her husband. Calixta is able to release her true feminine sexuality with Alcee that she cannot release with Bobinot, her husband. Bobinot and Bibi go home and they sit at the table, laugh and have a relaxing time. Calixta feels happier and she feels no guilt. In the last line of The Storm Chopin writes, So the storm passed and everyone was happy (100).

The storm implies that marriage is not all happiness and pleasure for all women. It tells a story about a womans natural sexual tendency and also represents a womans sexual fears of Chopins time period. Chopin was not able to get a lot of her work published because when her major novel, The Awakening, appeared in 1899, critics were outraged by her candid portrait of a woman who seeks sexual and professional independence (Gioia 96). Chopin also seemed to be in touch with her own sexual tendencies, which is why she writes many stories about women dealing with their sexual feelings.

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