Many people assume that love and passion go hand-in-hand in a relationship. People have come to believe that one true love can satisfy the need for passion. In The Storm, Kate Chopin uses imagery, flashback, and parallelism to draw a fine line between passion and love. Chopin presents passion as an emotion separate from love. She creates the feeling that passion is an intense emotion that is more mysterious than love could ever be. Passion is an ardent drive, an escape, the fulfillment of fantasy, and it is as mysterious as it is intense.
The Storm presents an affair between a married man and a married woman, who know each other from their younger years. The affair is portrayed as a necessary escape from reality. It is the fulfillment of the lust they felt for each other in the years past. The storyline forms the feeling that the affair is necessary in order to maintain a satisfied marriage with their spouse. Through this story, Chopin demonstrates the need everyone has for an escape at one point in any type of relationship. An escape can be a simple breath of fresh air in solitude, a break from the redundancy of married life, or a satisfaction of lusts. The affair is considered a part of a bigger picture in which all parties, though obviously unspoken amongst themselves, need a short break. A mixture of storming emotions lead to a need of a break in a relationship.
The action of the story is focused around the central motif of a storm, both literally and emotionally. Although the rising storm is first mentioned in Part I of the story, it is not fully described in vivid detail until Part II. In this section, Chopin describes and parallels the cycle of this incoming raising storm to the growing emotional uproar brewing between Alce and Calixta. First, it begins to grow dark and Calixta notices the weather has grown oddly warm. These are the signs of the oncoming cyclone, and foreshadowing of the affair that is to come. An affair that is dark in its sinister nature, and warm building up to the heat of passion that will arise. Next, as Monsieur Alce rides up to the house, big rain drops began to fall. The falling of the rain drops signifies the true beginning of the storm. Chopin significantly lets this occur at the same moment that Alce is first introduced in the story. Then the water beat in upon the boards in driving sheets showing the intensity of the storm outside, as well as the driving emotions building up as Monsieur Alce and Calixta move inside the house. Chopin further describes the rain as a force and clatter that threatened to break an entrance and deluge them there. When read closely the word deluge means more than a literal flood. At this point, deluge is descriptive of the overwhelming emotions both characters are developing as Chopin describes their physical features.
The action, both of the storm outside and of the brewing passion inside,
heightens as it is no longer just warm, but stiflingly hot. The storm grows so strong that it is, obscuring the view of far-off cabins and enveloping the distant wood in a gray mist. This creates the feeling of a wall blocking the outside world, making the house an enchanted place. Alce and Calixta are truly in their own enchanted world, and like the incessant playing of the lightning they give into their desires for absolute pleasure.
The climatic sexual scene develops with crashing torrents. Throughout this scene, Chopin mentions numerous times the key word mystery. Calixta is portrayed as a revelation in that dim, mysterious chamber, giving the feeling that a ritual of divine nature occurs revealing truth of life itself. Although the affair is described with great passion, the primary color detailed in this particular scene is surprisingly not red. Chopin only depicts the color white during the affair. Calixtas passion is described as a white flame. As Chopin explains, the white part of a flame is actually the hottest. The color white symbolizes purity to describe the passion of an extramarital affair. Most would agree that an extramarital affair is certainly deceitful but this story proves otherwise. Chopin suggests that the affair is necessary and allows Calixtas marriage and Alces marriage to live happily satisfied.
Kate Chopin leaves a reader with an uncomfortable feeling. The Storm presents the sense that the affair is not only justifiable, but actually increases the happiness of all characters involved. Even todays liberal society does not accept an affair outside of marriage as healthy and normal. The use of imagery, flashbacks, and parallelism lead a reader to reconsider his or her negative thoughts of infidelity. Chopin presents the possibility of finding love and passion in two different people. It is perfectly normal to escape from a committed relationship and find refugee in the passionate arms of another person.