Here in the 21st century, infidelity has become the new norm. Statistics show that about 60 percent, that is more than half, of committed couples have reported acts of infidelity (Stafford). However, back in the 19th century, there was a social stigma surrounding infidelity; more often than not its participants were ostracized by the community. Times have certainly changed. In Kate Chopin’s “The Storm” and John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”, both written approximately during the 19th century, the characters of both stories depict unfaithfulness in their marriages. Through the use of the plot, imagery, and the 19th century time period, “The Chrysanthemums” and “The Storm” depict a revolutionary era in which women not accept their sexual …show more content…
The color black has been known to be associated with seduction and sexiness that stems from the allusion to the color of lingerie. Consequently, after her sexually charged encounter with the tinker, Elisa’s whole demeanor changes. She is no longer hiding her sexual desires but acting on them. She put on her “newest underclothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which was a symbol of her prettiness” (Steinbeck 213). Bonding over the chrysanthemums and the wandering life suddenly left Elisa burning with sexual desire for another man. Immediately, changing her daily routine by wearing new underclothing made Elisa feel like a new woman; sexy and bold. Similarly, Kate Chopin’s use of imagery in “The Storm” describes Calixta as a married woman who is confident and sexy but only in the presence of her former flame, Alcee. Chopin illustrates Calixta as a woman with a fuller figure but with “lips as red and moist as a pomegranate seed” (107). The pomegranate fruit has always been considered a sexy, exotic fruit. It is an aphrodisiac, with a tempting red color that delivers passion and increases libido. Calixta, emanated sexual desire and promiscuity by painting her lips. She definitely feels comfortable in displaying her femininity as well as her beauty. Back at home, Calixta peers out the window just as a bolt of lightning strikes a nearby tree, causing her to stumble backwards. Alcee quickly catches her in his arms; the
Kate Chopin's short story 'The Storm'; describes an encounter of infidelity between two lovers during a brief thunderstorm. The story alludes to the controversial topic of women's sexuality and passion, which during Chopin's time no one spoke about much less wrote about. So controversial was 'The Storm,'; that it was not published until after her death in eighteen ninety-nine. The story is broken up into five sections, each filled with small clues and hints that reflect her message. In short, Kate Chopin's 'The Storm'; is about a confirmation of feminine sexuality and passion and a rejection of the suppression of it by society.
In the story "The Storm," Kate Chopin uses imagery throughout as a powerful instrument to convey the new sexual feelings that Calixta and Alcee are experiencing. In this story, words such as "thrust beneath the crack," and "her lips were as red and moist as pomegranate seed" are very good uses of
If he gave her any personal praise, as a woman of distinct qualities (one who was vital to the farm's survival), he might be empowering her. Thus, he keeps his praise for her superficial skills, growing flowers. In this way, Henry frustrates Elisa by not seeing into her true character. The flowers represent Elisa trying to find some way of escaping from her frustrated and repressed husband, not from her own sexual frustration.
In the portion of the story where Elisa is talking to the "Fixer-Guy" who happens to pull down the road to her farm, Steinbeck shows Elisa's eagerness for attention and how she comes to the realization that there is a more exciting life outside the farm. In the “Fixer-Guy”, Elisa finds somebody who sees her as more than a housewife, someone who can appreciate her from an unbiased viewpoint. He offers his services and she turns him down saying “I tell you I have nothing like that for you to do.” At first she resists conversation with him. Then when he asks about her plants Steinbeck writes “The irritation and resistance melted from Elisa’s face.” “I raise them every year, bigger than anybody around here”, she boasts. She is now very eager to talk about her chrysanthemums. Elisa's face becomes "tight with eagerness" as she talks about them, as if they were her children. The vibes from her infatuation with these flowers are picked up by the old man, and there is an unspoken connection between these two perfect strangers as they have both chosen their own preoccupation in life, his being a passion of pots and hers a love of chrysanthemums. It is this connection that ignites the realization that she longs to break free from the everyday routine she calls life. This feeling is so strong that "her hand went out toward his legs in the greasy black trousers" as if to grasp a piece
Kate Chopin wrote the short story “The Storm” one of her most bold stories and did not even intention to publish it (Cutter 191). The two main characters in the story are Calixta and Alcee. They both used to be attracted to one another in previous years, but now they are both married to someone else. After Alcee arrives to Calixta’s house looking for shelter they are driven into a passionate moment. In the story “The Storm” the storm has a significant meaning; without it the affair of Calixta and Alcee performed would not have been as powerful as it was between them. “The Storm” has a great deal of symbolism throughout the story: the clouds, the use of color white, the storm relative to the affair, the after effects of the affair, Calixta,
Toward the end of the story she realizes she was taken. Elisa had been taken advantage of because the man had no need for the chrysanthemums. On page 293 she finds the chrysanthemums and earth in the "dark speck" on the road. He kept the pot, her fifty cents, and a small piece of her pride but disregarded the flowers. His story of the woman who wanted chrysanthemums was just a facade and a devious scheme to get work.
Alcee helps Calixta safeguard the house, thereby placing them on the same footing as partners. Through the sexual encounter that ensues, Calixta continues to free herself from the confines of the societal constraints of being a woman, moving farther into her own individuality. Chopin describes Calixta?s body as finally ?knowing for the first time its birthright,? that is, freedom from inferiority (860). Since Calixta?s awakening comes through a sexual encounter, many argue that the sex she shares with Alcee is the birthright she discovers. By describing a previous encounter they shared in Assumption, Chopin shows that while the sex leads Calixta to her discovery, the breakthrough goes deeper than merely sex. The passion that Calixta finds within herself springs from this very self-awareness and freedom.
In “The Story of an Hour”, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, and “Trifles”, the authors all question the institution of marriage through the emerging theme of the oppression of women. In each of these works, women are shown trapped in confining marriages. While marriage is supposed to be seen as one of the most beautiful and perfect sanctities life has to offer, these authors portray it as more of a bittersweet agony that women are forced to endure. Chopin, Gilman, and Glaspell use a combination of symbolism and perspective in their literature to bring about this theme of female oppression. With this theme, the authors cause the readers to take a more feminist perspective and question the institution of marriage through the eye of the average housewife of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In “The Storm” Kate Chopin makes the setting an essential and entwined part of her action and ideas. The story focuses on the two main characters, Calixta and Alcee and their short love affair. The action is taking place in a small town in Louisiana where all of the characters live. The story is set in the late nineteenth century when adultery was not expected from anyone, as woman were considered to be innocent and faithful. The integration of setting and story can be followed in details about the storm itself, setting of the atmosphere/mood, and also the complexities of married status in the society.
In the short story “The Storm” by Kate Chopin, the main character Calixta is a wife and mother who appears to be unhappy and restless in her marriage and commits adultery. Calixta is able to fulfill her sexual desires with another man and does not feel guilty about it. Some readers may say that Calixta’s attitude on having an affair is selfish and most readers will not identify with the main character but may know characters that have Calixta’s mentality.
Thesis: In Kate Chopin's "The Storm" and "The Story of an Hour," the wives seem to share the foul qualities of selfishness, unfaithfulness and confusion.
Kate Chopin’s controversial novel, The Awakening, ignited turmoil because of her blatant disregard of the established 19th century perspective of women upholding strictly maternal and matrimonial responsibilities. Edna’s candid exploration of the restrictions on women through her liberal behavior in a conservative Victorian society makes her a literary symbol for feminist ideals. Despite denunciation from other people, Edna chooses individuality over conformity through her veering from traditional obligations. Edna indulges in her love of art, which is considered to conflict with her expected singular devotion to her household. Exploring her sexuality rather than repressing any sexual awareness constructs her feministic mentality.
There are many symbolic references to Elisa Allen as a sexually repressed and frustrated woman. One representation of the chrysanthemum is Elisa's passion and eagerness to live and experience life a content woman. While tending her chrysanthemums "she pulled out the crisp little roots and trimmed of the leaves of each one with her scissors (Steinbeck 1464)." This is a symbolism of Elisa Allen closing off all opportunities to grow as a sexual woman; She has resigned herself to the monotonous life as a complacent farmer's wife (Lee 1). The "figured print dress (Steinbeck 1463)" under the apron shows the readers that Elisa is aware of her sexuality but instead of acting on it has chosen to subdue it. She keeps her sexuality and passions under control like she cares for her chrysanthemums "laid [in a] small [and] orderly pile (Steinbeck 1464)" (Lee 1). Elisa begins to allow this sexuality to emerge when the traveling tinker romantically describes her
The presence of Calixta's sexual desire and its intensity make this story revolutionary in its feminist statement about female sexuality. Chopin uses the conceit of a thunderstorm to describe the development, peak, and ebbing of passion in the encounter between Calixta and Alcee. At first, Calixta is unaware of the approaching storm, just as her sexual desire might be on an unconscious level; yet, as the storm approaches, Calixta grows warm and damp with perspiration. Chopin does the obvious by these two events when she writes that Calixta, "felt very warm . . . she unfastened her white saque at the throat. It began to grow dark and suddenly realizing the situation she got up and hurriedly went about closing windows and doors" (Part 2 Paragraph 1).
"[Elisa's] passionate involvement with the process of planting becomes an expression of all the suppressed romance in her life" (Lewis 393). "She is a strong, childless woman of thirty-five that has subliminated her maternal instincts by producing remarkable flowers" (French, John 83). Nevertheless, "the plants and flowers cannot compensate for the lack of understanding and affection from her husband" (McCarthy 27). In the story, Elisa plays the role of a simple-minded lady who allows her husbands thoughts and actions to dominate her. "Elisa's marriage neither fills her time nor fulfills her desires" (Hughes 24). However, Beach concludes that Elisa without a doubt has a "soul" and is much less simple than she seems (Beach 32).