"The Storm" by Kate Chopin takes place in the late nineteenth century. The story surrounds two main characters, Calixta and Alcee. The two shared an intimate past, however have married someone else. As a storm nears, Alcee approaches Calixta seeking refuge at her house until it passes. When the storm erupts, so does the carnal desire that Calixta and Alcee have for one another. That fervor leads to an effusive, yet brief love affair between them. During their passionate encounter, Calixta's husband and son are waiting for the storm to cease at a local store. As the storm subsides and the rendezvous is fulfilled, Alcee absconds just in time for Calixta's husband and son to return. Chopin's involved descriptions and eloquent details of the affair are all rhetorically brought to life through the constant changing of the storm.
The story's theme implies that adultery, although a sin by God, is a natural tendency that does not always result in negative consequences. In my opinion, "The Storm" is symbolic of the turmoil Calixta was experiencing in regards to her tumultuous life. In comparison, "The Storm" also symbolizes Chopin's beliefs in feminine strength and sexuality and the struggles that came with those beliefs in that era. Through her use of symbolism, she revealed the battle between good and evil, and morality versus reality in the confines of an oppressive society.
Chopin wastes no time introducing evil. In the first paragraph, the narrator mentions Calixta's husband and son, Bobinot and Bibi, then describes "the child's attention to certain sombre clouds that were rolling with sinister intention from the west, accompanied by a sullen, threatening roar" (1.1.2). So from the start, the use of sombre, sinister, and sullen may evoke a dismal feeling of depression, darkness,and evilness for the reader, or perhaps a symbol of Satan. In the next scene, Calixta is introduced, followed by Alcee. Here is where foreshadowing can be noted. In looking up Ca-lixta, the following was discovered; ca is the abbreviation for circa. Circa means about. The work lixta in Spanish is bramante, which in English translates to twine, and twine is defined as two strings twisted together. In addition, Alcee means famous bearer and is a form of Alcine, who was the mistress of alluring enchantments and sexual pleasures. If those facts are pieced together with Calixta and Alcee substituting for the strings in the twine, we can foresee the upcoming affair. The narrator proceeds to paint an angelic picture as Alcee studies Calixta. Then detailing the aspects of Calixta and Bobinot's bedroom with "its white, monumental bed" (10.15.4). The color white is associated with light, goodness, innocense, purity, virginity, and is said to be the color of perfection, pureness. While monumental is depicted to something that is massive, or highly significant. Which is followed by Calixta's expression, "Dieu sait" (2.15.1), which translates as God knows. The mention of white can be translated from "clouded frame" (2.19.2) and then the narrator describes "a lightning bolt struck a tall chinaberry tree" (2.19.7). A chinaberry tree's wood is soft and white and the tree is fruitful. It is also known as the pride-of-India, umbrella tree; which in India is symbolic for Eden's Tree of Knowledge. In the Garden of Eden is where Adam and Eve were confronted with good versus evil. When Alcee pushes Calixta's hair from her face, her lips are described as "red and moist as pomegranate seed," (like the fruitful tree in Eden) then followed by "[h]er white neck and a glimpse of her full, firm bosom....It reminded him of Assumption" (2.22.6-10). In Catholicism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life. The Catholic Church teaches as dogma (an article of faith revealed by God) that the Virgin Mary having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
Le Marquand, Jane. Kate Chopin as Feminist: Subverting the French Androcentric Influence. Deep South 2.3 (1996). 9 Mar. 2004. Web. 13 February 2011.