Kate Chopin’s short story, “The Storm,” basically illustrates a woman’s search for self-discovery, identity, and sexuality and her revolt against conformity to society’s gender perceptions and norms which more or less dictates how a female is supposed to act or behave in life. As the story’s name implies, the focus of the themes mentioned above is paralleled to a storm. As shown in the story, Calixta is left alone in her home after her husband, Bobinot and their 4-year old son, Bibi became stranded in store of Friedheimer’s due to the intense the storm.
Calixta’s search for identity and self-discovery was sparked by the arrival of her former lover, Alcee, who helped her retrieve the clothes of her husband as the storm approaches. When the storm grew stronger, Alcee held Calixta very passionately and tenderly as if he was still in love with her. This move aroused Calixta and renewed the love and passion they both had for each other, ultimately resulting in them having an intense sexual intercourse. Basically, it was in this scene in the short story that the parallelism between Calixta and Alcee’s love for another and the storm was vividly shown.
When Alcee began to touch Calixta, the author also described how the strength of the storm was also increasing. Meaning to say, the storm more or less symbolized Alcee and Calixta’s love, which became more intense just like the weather conditions outside the house. It can also be said that Alcee wanted to rediscover her sexuality which has been possibly dormant or absent in her marriage to Bobinot, especially since she may have undergone physical changes after giving birth to their first child.
The parallelism between Alcee and Calixta’s affair is also noted by Nicole Mohr, a writer from the Associated Content, who said that the incoming storm “shows the signs of the oncoming cyclone, but also foreshadows the affair that is to come- dark, in its sinister nature, and warm building up to the heat of passion that will arise” (Mohr, 2006). It basically means that somehow, the author acknowledged the fact that the brief affair between Alcee and Calixta is sinful or devastating in nature similar to the storm.
However, it can also be noted that in the short story, sex is portrayed as something inevitable and natural like the storm that passed by Calixta and Bobinot’s home. Furthermore, the short story strongly represents the sexual restraints and gender conformities and norms during that time. It is a well-known fact that women had very limited rights and capabilities in the past. Chopin, on the other hand, revolted against this norm by illustrating a woman, in the person of Alcee, who deviates from the social and gender conformities and begins an affair in an attempt to rediscover her sexuality and search for her identity.
According to a critic from the Virginia Wesleyan College, the short story “helps to define the sexual standards and restraints of the late nineteenth century while also making a statement about humans’ natural tendency towards sexual passion” (Bartee, 2004). Moreover, it can also be argued that the portrayal of Calixta having an affair with another man and getting away with it without any form of punishment or without showing any guilt or remorse is a very good reflection of author Kate Chopin’s open-minded views.
For example, in society, even at the present context, it is sometimes considered normal for men to have affairs with other women. However, it is not the same when women who have affairs are concerned. As one critic commented, “that Calixta is able to resume her married life without guilt — and without punishment — after her one-shot affair to be would seem as shocking as Chopin’s descriptions of Calixta’s sexual encounter” (Bernardo, 2008). In short, “The Storm” mainly explores themes on female sexuality and her revolt against conformity.
Works Cited Bartee, Joanna. “‘The Storm’: More Than Just a Story. ” 2004. Virginia Wesleyan College. 13 April 2009 <http://facultystaff. vwc. edu/~cbellamy/Southern%20Literature/SL%20Chopin. htm>. Bernardo, Karen. “Kate Chopin’s ‘The Storm’”. 2008. Storybites. com. 13 April 2009 <http://www. storybites. com/Chopinstorm2. htm>. Mohr, Nicol. “Passion in Kate Chopin’s The Storm. ” 2006. Associated Content. com 13 April 2009 <http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/30734/passion_in_kate_chopins_the_storm_pg2. html? cat=38>.