"The Storm" by Kate Chopin

The Storm is a fiction short story that was written in July 1898 by Kate Chopin and focuses on the sexuality of the married couples. The story opens when Bobinot and his four year old son Bibi are caught by a storm at the Friedheimer's store, while Bobinot’s wife Calixta is undertaking her house hold chores back at home and also finds herself in a great storm (Chopin 1998). The storm in this case has been used by Chopin in a symbolic manner that would mean dreadful occurrence of sexual passion that Calixta experienced; it led her into defiling their marriage by giving in to extramarital sex with another married man Alcee, who was her former lover. The story outlines the movement outside the boundaries of marriage to seek freedom, satisfaction and fulfillment.

The sequence of the story and passion starts when Alcee admires the beauty of Calixta immediately he enters the house. He recognizes that she became a little bigger in figure than five years ago when she got married, the time they were lovers. This rekindles his memory, and he is instantly lost in the beauty of her vivacity, the melting quality of her blue eyes and the tender yellow hair that when were ruffled by the wind and rain, tangled more stubbornly to him than ever, over her ears and temples (Chopin 1998). Calixta, on the other hand, is burning with sexual passion and appears to be restless, unsatisfied and lacking self-control and power over her sexual drive. This is manifested by her lips that are described by the writer to be red and moist as pomegranate seed. When she glanced up at Alcee, “the fear in her liquid blue eyes had given place to a drowsy gleam that unconsciously deceived a sensuous desire” (Chopin 1998).  He looked down into her eyes and he could not stop his sexual desire, the storm, but passionately kissed her; he reminded her of Assumption, a place they were in more than five years ago.

It appears that Calixta had suppressed feelings and passions for Alcee, which were stimulated by their meeting after five years and the limitation created by the boundaries set by their marital status. This feeling prompts her to mention to Alcee in what appears to be pretense of concern that Bobinot is absent from home and cannot get home any soon because of the rain and storm, trying to suggest that they have enough freedom to enjoy themselves. Alcee capitalized on the favorable conditions and could not resist, but have passionate sex without guile or trickery, which the writer describes to be like “a white flame that penetrated and found response in depths of his own sensuous nature” (Chopin 1998).  Their sexual act ended with the storm, and the two were very happy proved by the smile and laughter as Alcee rode off. Alcee also went ahead to suggest to his wife not to hurry back home because he was already satisfied and needed more freedom to probably continue meeting Calixta.

The last statement in the story that the storm passed and all were happy is clear indication that the writer endorses adultery with an insinuation that one can seek sexual satisfaction outside marriage as long as the two are happy without letting the spouses know. Chopin, in her work, did not oppose the fact that unfaithfulness in marriage, as Calixta and Alcee were, was wrong, thus confirming that she allowed adultery.

On the contrary, it is possible to counter the conclusion by mentioning that Chopin did not endorse adultery. Calixta had a feeling that there was something missing, unfulfilling or unsatisfying in her life that gave a lot of pressure in her married life and contributed to the misfortunes in her family. Initially, Calixta was depicted as hard on the husband when the writer mentioned that after the storm her husband was prepared for the worst when meeting the over-scrupulous housewife, making them to enter through the back door cautiously (Chopin 1998). Instead of a quarrel, it was love and happiness. Alcee’s wife Clarisse, on the other hand, wanted to stay away from the intimate conjugal life with her husband at least for a while; for this reason she welcomed the husband’s suggestion. This shows that both Calixta and Alcee only wanted to solve their marriage problems that were centered on sexual desires, satisfaction and fulfillment.

It is also imperative to note that Chopin was not endorsing adultery, but was breaking the old thought that women were to serve their husbands. She instead demonstrated that women also had sexual desires and passion and needed to be served by their husbands including among other things sexually, to feel fulfilled, satisfied, replenished and fresh. Kate Chopin is of the opinion that in as much as women’s feminine and sexuality need is suppressed by the limitations of their married life, it is solved by a reenergized feeling of commitment to embrace the family.

In conclusion, Kate Chopin expresses the theme of femininity and sexuality in her story The Storm that allows a woman, who was initially expected to behave properly and whose sexual desire was considered to be suppressed, to also seek personal fulfillment and to remain happily married, like Calixta did. The storm in this case is used symbolically to denote the suppressed sexual desires that were ready to erupt like the heavy storm, which leaves the nature replenished and the air clear, denoting happiness and satisfaction.

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