The short story The Storm by Kate Chopin starts out with Bobinot and his son being stranded in a store due to an approaching storm, while his wife, Calixta, was at home. As the storm was beginning, Calixta had no choice but to let an old friend and once loved companion, Alcee, come in out of the pouring rain. As the storm began, Alcee and Calixta could not hold back their feelings any longer and engaged in passionate intimacy. When the sun came out, Alcee left, and shortly after, Bobinot returned home. As he prepared apologies, it was unnecessary because Calixta was happy to see them. When Alcee returned home, he wrote his wife, Clarisse, a loving letter encouraging her to stay a month longer in Biloxi. She was pleased to receive the letter as their intimacy was something she could forego for a while. In the end the storm was over and everyone was happy.
The central idea in the story is about marriage and sexual desire. In traditional society extramarital sexual fulfillment cannot provide happiness and strength to a marriage, but in this case it does.
The main character in the story is Calixta. She is round and dynamic. She is dynamic because she changes from being a little uptight and sexually unfulfilled to being relaxed and sexually satisfied. An example is Her firm, elastic flesh that was knowing for the first time its birthright and The generous abundance of her passion, without guile or trickery.
Kate Chopin uses all three methods of indirect characterization for Calixta, words, actions, and thoughts. An example of her words which reveal her excitement for the return of her husband is well have a feas tonight! An example of her actions which reveal how she cared for Alcee is when she stroked his shoulders. An example of her thoughts which reveal her nervousness before the storm approached is Calixta, at home, felt no uneasiness for their safety.
The central conflict in this story is internal. It is between Calixtas lack of sexual fulfillment and her passion and desire for fulfillment, which she does not receive from her husband. This internal conflict is resolved when Calixta and Alcee make love.
The point of view in the story is complete omniscient. An example is Calixtafelt no uneasiness... and He was willing to bear the separation a while longer-realizing that their health and pleasure were the first things to be considered. Though the focus is on Alcee and Calixta, this point of view is very effective because it allows Chopin to present the feelings of all the characters. This point of view helps to deliver the controversial central idea, that a passionate affair can actually benefit a marriage. Every character gained something positive from this affair, which might imply to the reader that the affair is acceptable under certain circumstances.
The Storm is set in the bayou country of Louisiana during the 1890s. There is a clear distinction between the upper class of Alcee and the lower class of Calixta. The most important aspect of the setting is the storm itself, which reflects Calixtas sexual intensity. As the heat in Calixtas house is stifling, so is Calixta in the sexual and social limitations of her marriage. She doesnt see Alcee very often but since her marriage she hasnt been alone with him. The development of the storm was an excellent use of setting because it mirrored the development of Calixtas encounter with Alcee.
Chopin uses imagery in the story. Examples of connotative words are: uneasiness, sinister, stolidly, vivacity, kinked, dazed, trickery, and loving. An example of a simile is The generous abundance of her passionwas like a white flame which penetrated and found response in depths of his own sensuous nature that had never yet been reached and His voice and her own startled her as if from a trance. Chopin also uses a lot of symbolism throughout the story which mainly comes from the storm. The first physical contact between Calixta and Alcee coincided with lightning striking, suggesting the electricity in their intimate encounter. The storm intensified as their passion did and ended as did their sexual encounter. Chopin uses the brightness of the sunlight to suggest a happy ending. An example of irony in the story is when the story ends with no negative repercussions for the affair everyone is happy. The dialogue is important in the story because it suggests that Calixta is from a poorer class. An example is when she says to Alcee, Its good two years sence it rain like that! A very important language feature in this story is the symbolism. The storm symbolizes the relationship between Calixta and Alcee it directly ties to the central idea which is about sexual desire and fulfillment.
The overall tone of The Storm is ambiguous at first. The most important element contributing to this tone is the internal conflict. Calixtas husband cannot fulfill her sexual passion, because of this the reader regards her desire with sympathy and compassion and the tone shifts to happy. When she is finally able to satisfy her desire, the reader is left feeling pleased for her. The happy tone is reinforced through the use of setting with the bright sun coming out after the dark storm passes. The tone relates to the central idea because in the end everyone is happy.