The Theme of love in “The Storm” – Kate Chopin
The Theme of love in “the Storm” – Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin’s “The Storm,” although written much earlier, was not published until 1969. This was for two reasons. The first reason was that it depicted sex in a very frank manner. Second, and more importantly, it portrayed adultery in a positive light. Alcee and Calixta not only committed adultery, but also they got away with it were not punished and everyone in the story was happy. This was a very taboo subject in general at the time and with the adulterous characters escaping punishment, no editor of the time could risk the moral outrage of the public by publishing such a story.
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The story is about two people that have an affair during a storm. The story involves two families, that of Bobinot, Calixta, and Bibi, and Alcee, Clarisse, and their babies. Calixta is at her house separated from her family due to the storm. Alcee is separated from his family because they are visiting another town. The storm brings Calixta and Alcee together and they have an affair. It s set in a small town in the late 1800s. A storm can mean many things, both good and bad, and it is important to the story both symbolically and directly.
The storm acts as a catalyst in the story as it causes the events to unfold as they do. The first real direct effect the storm has in the story is that it is what causes Bobinot and Bibi to stay at the local store to take shelter. This of course leaves Calixta home alone. Alcee, we are lead to believe, was out riding his horse somewhere near Calixta s house when the storm started. This causes him to take shelter there.
Before Calixta got married five years earlier, the two had romantic feelings toward each other. They rarely saw each other after that, and this what the first time since then that they had been alone together. Because of the awkward feelings he had, Alcee expressed an intention to remain outside. This is where the storm because it is a rather big storm, forces him to go inside. Once inside it seems harmless conversation would be all that took place. But alas, the storm once again comes into play.
While Calixta, worried about her family, is looking out the window the storm sends down a huge lightning bolt into a tree nearby. This causes her to jump and for Alcee to instinctively grab her in his arms. The storm now comes into play one last time. As Calixta is nervously pacing around the house (because of the storm), Alcee grabs her shoulders in an attempt to calm her down. At this point, their old feelings become too overwhelming resulting in an affair. When the storm ends, it symbolizes the end of the affair. We are never told what Chopin meant by the title The Storm.
The most obvious is that it is referring to the actual, physical storm. But she could have intended it to represent the symbolic storm that is taking place in the characters. The physical storm is used in the beginning to foreshadow the events that follow. Bobino points out certain sombre clouds that were rolling with sinister intention from the west. The storm can also be thought to represent how an affair can affect a marriage. A storm can mean change, and an affair will obviously change a marriage. When the author describes the affair she says, they did not heed the crashing torrents, which symbolizes that they did not care about the effects their affair would have. Storms are either good or bad. It depends on how, when, and by whom it is viewed.
The first and most obvious good is the physical pleasure for Alcee and Calixta. Just like the rain brings life in a drought, the affair has brought life for their sex lives, which were in a kind of drought. It ended up doing some good for their families too. Bobinot did not get in trouble for coming home dirty and they had a nice dinner that night. As for Clarisse, Alcee was in a good mood and wrote her a nice letter inviting her to stay for another month in the city, that their happiness comes first. The most important thing to remember is that all of these good things are just temporary. Because the story ends with the storm passed and everyone was happy, we do not see the bad parts of the storm.
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