The Storm Essay

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The Storm

In Kate Chopin’s short story “The Storm”, the narrative surrounds the brief extramarital affair of two individuals, Calixta and Alcee. The story does not seem to be as a condemnation of infidelity, but rather as an affirmation of human sexuality. “The Storm” may be interpreted as a specific affirmation of feminine sexuality and passion cojoined with a condemnation of its repression by the constraints of society. Even though the adultery considered a crime at that period of time, the storm allowed a moment.

The title of “Storm”, with its obvious connotations of sexual energy and passion, is of course critical to any interpretation of the narrative. Its title refers to nature, which is symbolically feminine; the storm can
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Alcee only helps her to keep the storm out, and therefore the storm of sexual passion in. “She was a little fuller of figure than five years before when she married; but she lost nothing of her vivacity. “Her blue eyes still retained their melting quality; and her yellow hair, disheveled by the wind and rain, …”. The author’s purpose in describing Calixta, then, is to clearly link the protagonist to sensuality and passion, to the very elements of the symbolism of the storm.

The storm outside continues to increase, reflecting the sexual tension inside. Calixta and Alcee move through the rooms of the house until they are adjoining Calixta’s bedroom, and we see the lack of passion in marriage represented by the separate beds that Calixta and Bobinot have. The room’s description also hints at the mystery of passion: “The door stood open, and the room with its white, monumental bed, its closed shutters, looked dim and mysterious”. The images in the bedroom seem to contrast one another, the white purity of innocence versus the dark mystery of sin. Calixta begins to gather up a cotton sheet that she has been sewing, in effect putting away a symbol of society’s constraints. The passion of the storm echoing her inner emotions, and when the lighting strikes nearby, Calixta staggers backward into Alcee’s arms, and for a moment he draws her “close and spasmodically to him”.

“… when he had unthinkingly

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