Readings in U.S. Literature
Written Assignment: Critical Literary Theory
The two main characters in the short story "The Storm" are Alcee and Calixta. They were flirtatious and close with each other several years before the story takes place, however each picked a more suitable marriage to another suitor and they have not seen each other ever since that had happened. In the present of the story when the action takes place, they are reliving a time when their passion was at its highest point. So this is what the story appears to be about at first glance. Underneath that surface there is a deeper and a larger meaning. "The Storm" helps to truly tell about the sexual standards and restraints of the late nineteenth century, while at the same time making a statement about human’s natural tendency towards our feelings of sexual passion. Chopin begins to illustrate this sexual restraint of the time by titling her story "The Storm." In literary terms a storm is associated with conflict, unease, and chaos. She also uses the image of the storm to represent the sexual tension that builds throughout the story between Calixta and Alcee. Chopin’s title can also be thought of as nature, which is symbolically feminine. The storm in this way can be seen as symbolic of feminine sexual nature and passion that will be mentioned repetitively throughout the story. The illustration of the storm begins with Calixta’s husband. Her husband, Bobinot decides to wait out a storm at the general store with their son. Avoiding or waiting out the storm suggests that Bobinot also avoids the passions that his wife is very capable of. After this we are introduced to Calixta at home, sewing and doing other household chores. She is at this point not aware that the storm is coming. This is suggesting that her sexuality is repressed by her marriage and the way society views of women and what they should be doing at home. After Alcee and Calixta’s...
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