The Storm by Kate Chopin
The short story The Storm written by Kate Chopin in 1898 is a story about the events before, during and after a storm one evening in Louisiana at Friedheimer’s store (Chopin paragraph 1). Bobinot and his son Bibi who had gone out to the store to make some purchases opt to stay at the store and wait for the storm to end. Bibi tells his father how he thinks his mother Calixta will be frightened during the storm. Calixta was busy at home sewing and did not realize the storm was close until she heard the windows squeaking from the strength of the wind. While going outside to collect Bobinot’s clothes, she notices Alcee, an old boyfriend coming into the gate and invites him inside.
In this era, women were expected to be fully devoted to their spouses. They were also expected to be kind to other members of the society apart from their husbands. It was also expected of a woman to be thorough in her household chores and while taking care of her family. Bobinot was thinking of ways to lie to her wife about how Bibi got dirt on his clothes while they were coming back home from the store (Chopin paragraph 15). Writers during this era were also barred from writing about intimate subjects in their works. It is surprising that Chopin decided to describe intimate scenes in her story about Calixta and Alcee kissing. Sex was still seen as an inappropriate topic to cover in one’s book or story.
Placing of the Story
The story was set in the southern part of the United States of America in Louisiana where most people practiced farming during that time and moved around using horses. Retail stores were few and located in specific areas where people had to go to purchase goods. The weather in the town was usually rainy most of the time accompanied by heavy storms that would sometimes destroy farms and buildings. Calixta even feared that the storm could destroy their house that evening. Most marriages during this time were also not stable since spouses were usually separated shortly after marriage when the man had to go to another town to seek employment.
Alcee had been away from her family for a long time and even writes his wife a letter telling her that they could stay where they were for as long as they wanted since Louisiana was not safe due to the bad weather. This is during the time he is having an affair with Calixta. The same could be said about Calixta who recalls in the story how her husband had not been intimate enough with her. The society was also deeply religious and going to church was very important. Calixta remembered that she had aired out Bobinot’s Sunday clothes and hurried out to collect them before the storm started. Due to the religious nature of this society, children were expected to behave in a respectful manner and to keep tidy as possible. Women were also expected to be obedient to their husbands.
Circumstances that led to Calixta and Alcee’s affair
The conditions before and during the storm made Calixta and Alcee’s affair unavoidable. The storm was coming and therefore Alcee had to find a place to take cover until it ceased. Coincidentally, it happened that he was close to Calixta’s home and he therefore opted to take cover there after Calixta invited him in. Calixta’s home was far out in the field far from most of the other homes. In addition, his husband and son had gone out to the store to make some purchases and she was home alone. Being a woman, she was afraid of the storm and did not mind having someone in the house with her for her to feel a little bit secure. Alcee, in the past, had intentions to woo Calixta and still felt attracted to her. Therefore, when he finally got the chance to rekindle what he felt for Calixta, he seized the opportunity and kissed her. Calixta was also harboring the same kind of feelings for Alcee and she kissed him back. Alcee also observed how Calixta’s body was still well endowed despite her growing old. This even attracted him to her more.
After the storm had passed and everyone had settled back to their homes, the writer adds that everyone was pleased with how things had turned out. Calixta was happy that both Bobinot and Bibi had arrived back home safely and even brought her some shrimps. The statement “so the storm passed and every one was happy” is meant to remind us of how things had turned out for everyone in the story. Apart from Bobinot and Bibi returning home safely, Calixta finally had the chance to have some intimate time with his old lover Alcee. She felt somewhat satisfied and kissed his husband on the cheek from his joy. Alcee had also satisfied his intimate desires with Calixta and felt that he could stay away from his wife longer than he had expected. This story brings out the infidelities of some spouses during marriage.
Lombardi Esther. “The Storm-Short Story. Kate Chopin’s Famous Short Story-Classic Text”. About.com. Classic Literature. np. 06/08/2012. Web. 13/2/2013.
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